On December 23, 2017, in New Delhi (India) the members of
the official Russian delegation Assistant to the Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor
Vasily Lavrovsky and Head of the Department for Land Surveillance, Grain Quality
and Safety Control, Olga Zakharova, took part in the preparation and holding of
the meeting of the co-chairmen of the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian
Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation :
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
Republic of India Sushma Swaraj.
Along with the discussion of a wide range of issues related
to trade, economic and investment cooperation, cooperation between the two
countries in the transport sector, energy, industry, and space, much attention
was paid to cooperation in the field of agriculture.
The parties noted the priority of increasing contacts in the
agrarian sector, a significant increase in trade in agricultural products and
food products, and the balance here is in favor of Indian products, both in
volume and in assortment.
Despite this, the Indian side insisted on expanding the
supply of tropical fruit and vegetable products, buffalo meat, dairy, fish
products and processed egg products to the Russian market, linking the
potential growth in trade with the strengthening of the interaction of the
supervisory services of Russia and India.
For their part, the Russian side noted an increase in the
supply of wheat, peas and chickpeas (at the beginning of the second decade of
December the deliveries amounted to 379,000 tons, 216,000 tons and 5,500 tons,
respectively), as well as vegetable oil to the Indian market.
They also developed the topic of tariff and non-tariff
phytosanitary barriers on the way of Russian agricultural products to the
Indian market that was raised in the report of Dmitry Rogozin.
They noted serious difficulties that cause increased duties
on grain, oilseeds and leguminous crops imported to India, imposed by India
under the pretext of protecting farmers' incomes due to a sharp drop in prices
in the domestic market, where good crops were harvested.
Once again, they stressed the redundancy of the requirements
of the Indian quarantine service to treat all imported grain with methyl
bromide only, which were to enter into force on January 1, 2018. The Russian
side pointed out that the Indian authorities must take into account the high level
of safety and quality of Russian products that were never the objects of complaints
made to the Rosselkhoznadzor (unlike, for example, Ukraine, which received 86
notifications from the Indian phytosanitary service at the beginning of
November 2017, and nevertheless remains the main grain exporter to India), drew
attention to the absence of dangerous for India quarantine pests in Russia and
the climatic characteristics of the country that make it difficult to use
methyl bromide in the cold season, that is, almost 8 months a year.
With a view to solving this issue, the parties came to the
understanding that all foreign exporters will be subject to delay in the implementation
of this provision of Indian legislation until July 1, 2018; the
Rosselkhoznadzor and the Indian supervisory authorities will speed up the
finalization of the Agreement on phytosanitary conditions for grain supply from
Russia to India, the quarantine service of India will determine the specific
terms for the inspection of the phytosanitary safety system for crop production
in Russia, including alternative procedures for grain fumigation, which will
take place no later than in March 2018.
The Russian colleagues reminded their counterparts of the
interest of Russian business circles in the supply of poultry products, fish,
fish products and seafood, honey, non-edible raw materials of animal origin
(sheep wool, wet-salted cow hides) to India and asked to speed up the
harmonization of import requirements.
In conclusion, the co-chairmen noted the progressive nature
of trade and economic relations between the two countries and expressed
confidence in reaching a mutual trade turnover between Russia and India up to $
30 billion by 2025.