Australia, Canada, Russia and the USA raised objections against India at WTO for restrictions on import of pulses.
Import Restrictions Imposed by India
India imposed quantitative restrictions (QRs) since 2017 to cut down the import of yellow, green and dun peas. The import of these varieties restricted to 10 lakh tonnes for April 1- June 30, 2018. India eventually increased restrictions several times depending on demand and supply. At present, the imports of all pulses varieties restricted to 15 Lakh tonnes till March 31, 2020.
In January 2019, the government announced that only dal millers will be allowed to import pulses. No pulses traders have the permission to import pulses in India. Estimated import of pulses for FY 2019-20 stands at 8,25,000 tons, decrease of 68% from previous year. However, the government issued an additional pulses import license of 6,50,000 tons.
India was asked to vindicate the restrictions under WTO rules. India needs to explain the reason for operating temporary quotas for more than 2 years. Further, many countries want to know how India plans to remove restrictions after they terminate on March 31, 2020.
Australia demanded an explanation for functioning of temporary QRs for over 2 years. In the representation it said,” Australia, therefore, requests again that India explain fulsomely the WTO-basis for the application of the QRs and the justification for ‘temporary’ QRs. Given QRs have been in place for more than two years for some varieties”.
Canada raised objections over the deadline issued by India in which the time-frame for dry peas QRs decreased by five months.
The US wishes to know that how India plans remove quantities restrictions on mung, beans and peas when they expire in March next year.
The Indian government imposed import restrictions to give farmers a better price for their produce. Further government wants to encourage farmers to increase pulses cultivation and reach self-sufficient status.