India to export mangoes to US; import cherries, pork

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New Delhi: The US has approved import of mangoes and pomegranates from India and secured New Delhi’s approval to supply of cherries, alfalfa hay, pork and pork products to India, the two governments said in separate statements.

The export of Indian mangoes and pomegranates to the US is in accordance with a recent agreement between India’s Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for implementing the “2 Vs 2 Agri market access” issues, the commerce ministry said in a statement. “Under the agreement, India and the US would follow joint protocol on irradiation for India’s mango exports and pomegranate exports to the US and import of cherries and Alfalfa hay from the US,” it added.

The agreement was signed in pursuant to the 12th India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting held on November 23, 2021.

Meanwhile, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) also announced India’s agreement to allow US pork and pork products into India.

A statement issued by the office of USTR on Monday said: “United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced that the government of India has agreed to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products into India, removing a longstanding barrier to U.S. agricultural trade.”

It added: “This news follows the successful revitalisation of the US-India Trade Policy Forum [TPF] held in New Delhi in November 2021, during which Ambassador Tai raised the importance of access for U.S. pork with Indian Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal.

The statement quoting Vilsack further said: “This new opportunity marks the culmination of nearly two decades of work to gain market access for U.S. pork to India – and it signals positive movement in US-India trade relations.”

TPF, one of the bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the US and India to discuss trade issues, was established in 2005, but it was dormant since its last meeting in October 2017 until Indian commerce minister Goyal and Ambassador Tai decided to revive the forum during their phone conversations in March and May last year.

As the government has secured the approval of USDA for export of Indian mangoes to the US in the new season, consumers in that country will now have access to excellent quality mangoes from India, the commerce ministry said in its statement.

“As part of the mutual agreement, India will be able to export mangoes to the USA in the mango season commencing with the Alphonso variety of mangoes by March onwards,” it added. The export of Indian mangoes has been restricted by the US since 2020 as USDA inspectors were unable to visit India to inspection irradiation facilities due restrictions imposed on international travel because of Covid-19 pandemic.

“A revised work plan has been worked out, including phase-wise transfer of oversight of pre-clearance of irradiation treatment to India as agreed upon between both the countries,” the commerce ministry statement said.

While the pomegranate exports will start from April 2022, exports of alfalfa hay and cherries from the US will begin in April 2022, it said.

There is a huge acceptance and consumer preference of Indian mangoes in the US as India exported 800 metric tonnes (MTs) of mangoes to the US in 2017-18 and the export value of the fruit was $2.75 million, it added.

Similarly, in 2018-19, 951 MT of mangoes worth $3.63 Million were exported to US and 1,095 MT worth $4.35 million were exported to the country in 2019-20.

“As per estimates received from the exporters, the export of mangoes in 2022, may surpass the figures of 2019-20,” the statement said.

The USDA approval will pave the way for exports from traditional mango production belts such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the development will also provide an opportunity for the export of other varieties of mangoes from north and east India such as Langra, Chausa, Dasehri and Fazli.

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