China may allow imports of Indian non-Basmati rice
NEW DELHI: China may soon grant market access to India's non-basmati rice exports, acceding to a long-pending request from New Delhi.
The Centre had repeatedly taken up the issue of the Country’s ballooning goods trade deficit with China bilaterally. India had demanded market access for products including non-basmati rice, pharmaceuticals and several fruits & vegetables among others.
India’s goods trade deficit with China has surged from $1.1 billion in 2003-04 to $52.7 billion in 2015-16. Beijing has been “denying” market access to India's non-basmati rice claiming that the item had failed to meet Chinese norms on quality, health and safety. Its concerns included the likelihood of a pest called ‘Khapra beetle (or cabinet beetle)’ getting transported along with Indian non-basmati rice consignments to China.
China was the world’s largest rice importer in 2015-16 followed by Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
To export to countries including China, it is mandatory for Indian rice exporters to be registered with the NPPO — the Indian Government body in charge for inspecting these mills and granting certificates on plant health for export purposes.
Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Indian Commerce Ministry is also involved in the process. India had earlier sent the information sought by AQSIQ regarding the quality protocol and standard operating procedures, the sources said.
“The inspection is a very significant stage in the process,” A. K. Gupta, Director (Basmati Export Development Foundation, foreign trade, World Trade Organisation-related matters & agri-export zones), APEDA, said. He expressed hope that following the inspection, China will soon issue a formal notification regarding permission for non-basmati rice exports from India.