India Asks US to Relax Norms For Greater Access to Mangoes
NEW DELHI: India has asked the US to relax certain norms related to irradiation for greater access to homegrown mangoes in the American markets, Parliament was informed today.
Several other agri and non-agri products face non-tax barriers in the US markets.
The phyto-sanitary (related with plants) norms imposed by the US for mangoes from India requires irradiation treatment and inspection prior to the shipment.
"This time consuming and costly process of certification makes Indian mangoes less competitive in the US market," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
She said that the government has requested the US to "relax these norms".
India has also sought the option of irradiation at source or upon arrival in the US to provide flexibility for Indian exporters, she said.
Besides, the country has proposed that US should allow National Plant Protection Organisation to carry out pre-shipment inspection of mangoes to save cost, a process which is currently conducted jointly by India and the US, she added.
Similarly, the US has imposed certain irradiation treatment conditions for pomegranate exports from India.
The minister said America has not granted market access to the Indian grapes either.
"The US has granted market access to Indian Litchis after the performance of cold treatment. However, no Litchis have been exported in the last two years," she said.
This is because of APEAD's inability to organise a training programme for their officials on cold treatment monitoring.
The minister also listed out other non-tax barriers being faced by Indian exporters in the US market.
On pharmaceuticals, Sitharaman said the American law has introduced high registration fee for companies manufacturing generic drugs.
She also said that "Indian pharma companies are subject to unwarranted and unjustifiably, enhanced inspections (in the US)".
Additionally, she said, there is an inordinate delay between the issue of form 483 (issue to companies after inspection) and the final FDA report which may lead to a warning or a ban.
Similarly, the other sectors which face such barriers include Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicines, seafood exports and meat containing products.
"Imports of shrimp have come under increased scrutiny by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," she said, adding that exporters of meat-based products to the US face difficulties in obtaining approval of their processing facilities from US veterinary services.
Pertaining to certain goods, the Commerce Minister said the US has placed 23 items produced in India on the list of goods produced by child or forced labours, which is in effect a ban on their imports.
On the 'Buy-America' provisions, she said Indian manufacturers and suppliers are "unjustly" excluded from the public procurement market in the US. These provisions require the US government to prefer US-made products and suppliers in its purchases.
Replying to a separate question, she said a total of Rs 623.5 crore has been released to 17 alternate investment funds under the 'Fund of Funds' scheme for start-ups.