US, EU question India’s apple import policy

US, EU question India’s apple import policy

The WTO committee held a meeting to discuss Import Licensing Policy. They requested India to follow export compliance after it restricted import of apples to just one port

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European Union and the United States raised concerns over India’s recent policy to limit the entry of imported apples to only the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Nhava Sheva) in Navi Mumbai and questioned India of distorting trade compliance under its WTO commitments.  They requested India to give further information on the consequences if apples are imported through other ports, i.e. Chennai, Kolkata and Krishnapatnam. “The US meanwhile said the measure has so far "had an impact on trade" and took issue over the lack of a comment period before the new policy was implemented. New Zealand, Chile, and Australia also echoed these concerns,” the global body said in a statement. In reply, India said that the measure doesn’t fall under Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures. It referred to the article - - Dispute DS366– and reiterated that the panel didn’t consider designating a specific entry point as a violation of import licensing provisions. Australia came out in support of India and said that the measure could be considered as an administrative procedure as it falls under the ambit of the committee’s work. However, it underscored that India’s claim would only be valid if there were no documentations required for the import through the Nhava Sheva port. The WTO Committee held a meeting on Import Licensing on October 20, 2015, where member countries urged India to follow export compliance. India on September 14 had issued an order to restrict import of apples only to the Nhava Sheva Port to curb an increase in apple imports from the major exporting countries, including the US, Chile and New Zealand. These countries are unhappy with India’s decision as restricting imports to just one port would add to their transportation cost. India produces about19 lakh tonnes of apple each year.  In 2014, apple import increased by 5% to over 2 lakh tonnes as traders feared that adverse weather conditions in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand would hit its overall domestic production.  

October23, 2015 | 3:03pm IST.   

The Dollar Business Bureau - Oct 23, 2015 12:00 IST