Grain exporters ask Turnbull to tackle India over tariffs


AUSTRALIAN grain bodies have asked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to intercede with India to delay implementation of new import duties on a range of crops.

India doubled the duty on imported wheat from 10 per cent to 20 per cent effective from November 8 and imposed a 50 per cent tariff on dry peas.

Pulse Australia, Grain Growers Limited, Grain Trade Australia, the Australian Grain Exporters Association and Grain Industry Market Access Forum say the import duties will have a negative impact on Australian grain prices.

“The action by the Indian Government to increase import duties and tighten quotas is further exacerbated by the immediate introduction that does not provide Australian exportes or Indian importers with the opportunity to manage current trade,” the five bodies said in a letter to Mr Turnbull.

“We encourage the Australian Government to make representation to seek to delay the ‘effective date’ for which India has proposed implementation of its revised import quotas and tariffs to allow existing committed shipments to arrive before the tariff comes into effect.”

The new tariffs come at a time when Mr Turnbull had commissioned the development of an Australia-India economic strategy, aimed at lifting the economic partnership between the two countries to a new level.

Australia exported 2.24 million tonnes of wheat to India last season — its highest level in more than 20 years.

India bought more than half of Australia’s field pea and chick pea crops over the past five years and 20 per cent of its lentils.

The total value of wheat and pulse sales to India in 2016 was more than $1.1 billion.


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