Agriculture

Canada Accuses India of ‘Discriminatory Treatment’ Over Pulse Crops

Earlier this month, India announced a 50% tariff on dry pea imports from all countries, causing prices to fall in Canada, the world’s biggest exporter.

Canada's agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 25, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Chris Wattie

Canada’s agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, January 25, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Chris Wattie

Winnipeg, Manitoba: Canada on Wednesday accused India of “discriminatory treatment” against it in a dispute over C$1.1 billion ($855.10 million) worth of Canadian pulse crop exports.

Canada normally ships much of the peas, lentils and other protein-rich pulse crops its farmers grow to India, where they are a staple of many diets.

But earlier this month, India announced a 50% tariff on dry pea imports from all countries, causing prices to fall in Canada, the world’s biggest exporter.

Canadian shipments to India have also been interrupted by India’s requirement that crops be fumigated for insects in the country of origin.

India normally gives Canada an exemption from the policy, as the country’s cold climate does not allow certain pests to survive, but that exemption expired on September 30.

“Progress has stalled and a solution to this important issue remains elusive,” said a joint statement by Canadian agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay and international trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, adding that Canada is “deeply concerned and disappointed” with India’s regulatory and tariff decisions.

India has granted exemptions to other exporting countries from the fumigation policy until the end of the year, “indicating that India is applying discriminatory treatment to Canada,” the ministers said.

New Delhi is committed to doubling Indian farmers’ incomes and reducing imports, a senior official with India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry told Reuters last week.