India has suspended imports of apples, pears and tagetes seeds from China after repeated tests found pests in the incoming shipments.
This is the first instance of Indian authorities banning farm products from China. Apples and pears account for almost 90% of the fruit and vegetables India imports from its neighbour.
An official said, “We repeatedly found quarantine pests in apples, pears and tagetes (marigold flower) seeds coming from China. Hence, we have temporarily suspended their imports.”
The move comes as India has made a point of staying away from China’s ostentatious promotion of its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and relations between the two countries have been going through a prickly time, mainly due to differences centered on border disputes.
In the 11 months to February, India imported apples and pears worth $132 million from China, up 200% from the corresponding period a year ago.
Indian authorities cited non-compliance and violation of phytosanitary norms that can cause “serious biosecurity risk to Indian agriculture” in a series of letters to China. “Regular interception of quarantine pests found to be associated with apples, pears and tagetes seeds indicate failure of phytosanitary control system in China,” India said in its latest letter on May 1.
On the contrary China responded by saying that the intercepted quarantine pests might have entered during packaging and circulation.
Although India has been informing China about instances of non-compliance with regard to imports, the situation has seen little improvement, the official said. New Delhi has now sought additional information on these three farm products.
The official said, “We also want to know registration procedure for orchards for backward linkages.”
The issue is likely to be discussed when officials from General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) visit India in July.
India prohibits import of milk and milk products such as chocolates, candies and confectionery, and food preparations with milk or milk solids as an ingredient form China.
Source: Franchise India Bureau