India’s high tariffs impedes agricultural imports from US

India’s high tariffs impedes agricultural imports from US

Washington: American farmers and food product maker lose millions of dollars each year in lost sales to India because of high tariffs and non-tariff measures, which raise the cost or prohibit agricultural exports to the country, says a report.

The report “India: Effects of Tariffs and Non Tariff Measures on US Agricultural Exports" was released by the US International Trade Commission (USITC), an independent, non- partisan fact finding federal agency, at the request of the Senate Committee on Finance.

“Indian WTO bound tariff rates on agricultural products, averaging 114%, are among the highest in the world. The majority of rates are between 50-150%, much higher than the average bound rates for other major developing countries such as Brazil and China," the report said.

Noting that though average applied farm tariff rates have declined significantly from 113% in 1991, prior to Indian economic liberalization, to about 34% in 2007, USITC said they are still remain among the highest globally.

The gap between high bound rates and lower applied rates allows India to vary its tariff rates frequently and substantially on some commodities, which creates uncertainty for US agricultural exporters, it said.

USITC said despite the size of the Indian market, inefficiencies in its marketing and distribution system due to high government interventions, poor quality and inadequate infrastructure, make it less attractive for US farm producers.