Agreement with India reached over pulse fumigation

WINNIPEG — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reached an agreement with the Indian government over pulse fumigation issues during his state visit to India.

In in a joint press release from Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, it stated the prime ministers both see the importance of ensuring access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. The release also noted that transparency and predictability of market access conditions, including sharing of information on production of agricultural commodities, are key to advancing food security goals for both countries.

“India and Canada will work closely together to finalize an arrangement within 2018 to enable the export of Canadian pulses to India free from pests of quarantine importance, with mutually acceptable technological protocols,” the release stated.

Trudeau took part in the state visit to India from Feb. 18 to 24, where he had said he would discuss the fumigation and tariff issues with the Indian government.

Indian government regulations require pulses shipped to the country to be fumigated before arriving. The fumigation process doesn’t work well in cold weather and Canada doesn’t have the nematode pest India is trying to keep out through fumigation.

India had renewed the extensions regularly since 2004. Initially the renewals happened annually and later every six months. In July the extension was changed again to three months for Canada, with the latest expiring Sept. 30. The fumigation exemption was never renewed.

In November the Canadian pulse industry was blindsided when the Indian government placed a 50 percent import tariff on peas. In December a 30 percent tariff was placed on lentil and chickpea imports, the chickpea import was later raised to 40 percent.

No mention was made about the import tariffs in the press release.

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