The United States (US) has asked India
to open up a larger share of the agriculture
market by reducing tariffs, dismantling import bans, and speedily adopting greater biotechnological advances, such as genetically modified (GM) crops.
The entry of foreign competition in the market is constrained by trade
restrictions, such as high tariffs on agricultural imports, blanket bans for some commodities, and stringent technical requirements, said a senior US
government official on Monday.
The slow adoption of GM crops has also resulted in India
falling behind Asian nations, such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and China, the official added.
These issues are part of the agricultural agenda at the annual Trade
Policy Forum talks with the US, and continue to be discussed bilaterally, the official added.
On the trade
had been accused by the developed economies of closing its agricultural market to foreign commodities. The countries are currently battling out at the World Trade
Organization (WTO) over poultry imports
from the US
The decision on the case is expected by early next month. The US
has suggested that the trade
policy needs to be overhauled in this regard, and “the crude method of managing supply through tariff intervention brought down”.
“We understand the trade
policy is meant to protect farmers from cheaper imports, but it doesn’t work,” the official said.
is also fighting the US, apart from the European Union, Australia and the United Kingdom at the WTO
over farm issues, such as special safeguards mechanism and the right to public stockholding of foodgrain.
The divisive issues will be discussed at the upcoming WTO
ministerial talks in Argentina later this year. On the issue of GM crops, while Bt Brinjal — developed by Indian scientists — has faced opposition in India, Bangladesh continues to successfully cultivate the crop, the official said.
The regulatory mechanism needed to become more transparent in India, he added.
Biotech-enabled advances can push the yields of food staples, such as rice
and wheat, in the country which scores lower than neighbouring China and Bangladesh in this area.