While some of India’s trade policies are hurting Saskatchewan’s farmers, the organization representing the province’s pulse producers is downplaying the impact of higher chickpea tariffs on the industry.
On Friday, India announced they would be increasing their tariff on chickpea imports from 40 per cent to 60 per cent in an attempt to offset an oversupply in their domestic market.
Chickpeas are a common crop in the province, but Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Executive Director Carl Potts told 650 CKOM they don’t export much of them to India.
He said Saskatchewan produces Kabuli chickpeas, which India is often a net exporter of.
“India isn’t a big market for us for chickpeas,” he said.
“So it will likely have a relatively limited effect.”
He added the higher tariffs will likely have a larger impact on Australia’s pulse growing industry.
Organization optimistic over Trudeau’s India trip
Potts did say there was still concern among farmers over tariffs on peas and lentil imports to India, but added there isn’t much Canada can do to persuade the country to abandon the protections.
“Domestic prices there are low for farmers and India’s government is trying to do things to increase prices for farmers,” he said.
The executive director said while many have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of progress on tariffs during his India trip, the organization wasn’t anticipating him to make headway on the issue.
“We weren’t expecting India to remove import duties because of this visit,” Potts said.
He also addressed criticism of Trudeau not bringing his agriculture minister, Lawrence MacAulay, for discussions.
Potts said MacAulay had already been negotiating with India behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for Trudeau’s talks.
“It was really an elevation from the trade and agricultural minister to the prime minister level,” Potts said.
“We were really pleased to see this issue be one of the top of the agenda items.”
He also noted there was progress made over India’s decision last year to force Canadian pulse imports to be fumigated before arriving on their soil, pointing to an agreement between Trudeau and Narendra Modi to nix the requirement by the end of 2018.
“When we get back to a situation where India needs to be importing in a major way, we want those technical non-tariff barrier things out of the way,” Potts said.