Australia presses India for transition period on new pulses tariffs

SYDNEY, Dec. 29 (Reuters) — Australia is pressing India to allow a transition period for newly introduced tariffs on imported pulses to avoid any disruption to existing contracts or shipments in transit.

India last week imposed a 30 percent tax on chickpea and red lentil imports, just a month after putting a 50 percent tariff on peas, to support local farmers.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said in a statement Dec. 29 that he has asked his Indian counterpart for a period of transition for the tariffs on chickpeas and red lentils and was seeking a swift resolution.

Australia exports about A$1.2 billion (US$935 million) of the two pulses each year. Analysts estimate that India accounts about half of the shipments.

The tariffs are a further blow for local farmers after Australia’s official commodities forecaster this month pegged production of chickpeas to fall nearly 50 percent in the current season due to adverse weather.

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