China delays opening up market for Indian farm products

At a time when India’s anti-dumping measures against China is being termed as protectionist by the Chinese media, New Delhi is using all its bilateral dialogue mechanism with Beijing to nudge its communist neighbour to expedite the process of granting market access to fruits, vegetable and basmati rice from India.

India raised the issue when Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo came to New Delhi last week for resuming the talks with National Security Advisor M K Narayanan for resolving the boundary dispute. India has been seeking access to Chinese market for 17 varieties of fruits and vegetables. But, over the past several years, only three items were granted market access by China. Beijing has also been slowing down the process of giving clearance to import of basmati rice from India, by delaying the visit of its technical team to India for assessment required under Chinese laws before allowing import of any agricultural product.

New Delhi and Beijing had on February 21, 2000, inked a bilateral agreement to facilitate China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and provide greater access for Indian exports to the vast but restricted Chinese market. The agreement was followed by an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Application of Phyto-Sanitary Measures, which was signed during the visit of the then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in January 2002. India had proposed 17 items to be covered under the MoU. But China sought to deal with each of them separately and the first item taken up for consideration was mango.

After Pest Risk Analysis and detailed negotiations, the first consignment of Indian mangoes reached Beijing and Shanghai in July 2003. New Delhi hoped that agreements on similar protocols for other fruits and vegetables would not take as much time as those on mango took. But the Chinese Government had so far granted market access to only two other items.

DH News Service

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