US seeks greater access to India in farm trade

28-11-2006 | |

The United States is seeking greater market access in India for its agricultural commodities, such as wheat, to ensure balanced farm trade between the two countries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We are working on a number of issues…both tariff and nontariff…on
commodities such as wheat, edible oils, dairy products…and pet food,” US
Agriculture Department Secretary Mike Johanns was quoted as saying. “There is a
trade imbalance in favour of India.”

“We would love to sell wheat to
India,” he said in an interview with the journal. India’s federal government has
imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2006 amid a decline in local output and
granary stocks.

Not succesful in selling
wheat
Johanns said the US hasn’t been successful in selling wheat to
India despite being a large exporter world-wide, because of stringent sanitary
and plant-health norms in India. He favoured an approach where India’s
plant-health norms are protected and wheat trade occurs with the US.

He
added that discussions on plant-health-related issues are going on so that India
will be able to export its mangoes to the US by the next harvest in April. “We
need to be flexible and examine the possibility of how to fit together (issues
relating to domestic support, subsidies and market access) to achieve the
promises of the Doha round” of global trade talks, he said.

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