Raising the pitch against import ban on mangoes placed by the EU, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said that the bloc should not “precipitate’’ a situation that requires India to take the matter to the World Trade Organisation.
“We do hope that the EU will see sense, considering the strengths of the economic partnership between the two, and not precipitate a situation which needs us to go to the WTO. We hope the issue will be resolved bilaterally between India and the EU,” Sharma said addressing a press conference on Friday.
The EU banned import of mangoes, bitter gourd, taro, egg plant and snake gourd from May 1 following detection of insects in some consignments.
India says that the ban is unfair as it has now put in place stringent packaging and inspection norms to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
India has made it mandatory for exports of all perishable items to the EU to be routed through pack-houses certified by the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the vigilance of plant protection inspectors.
World class labs
“We have, through APEDA, invested in creating world class laboratories and their certification processes are accepted by the EU, the US and other countries.
“That is why the APEDA, with the Commerce Ministry, has taken up the matter with the EU,” Sharma said.
The Minister added that India’s Ambassador to the EU in Brussels has been given clear instructions and the mandate of what to convey to the 27-member bloc.
“Let us wait for a response,” he added.
Although only about 5 per cent of India’s total exports of perishables to the EU estimated at €400 million have been affected by the ban, Sharma said that such ban hurts resource-poor farmers.
Sharma has already written to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht against the ban and demanded that it be lifted soon.