India Issues Three Month Exemption Allowing Canadian Pulse Imports

Viterra's port facility in Vancouver.

India has granted a last-minute temporary exemption allowing Canadian pulse exports to continue without being fumigated in Canada.

“This new exemption means that Canadian pulse exports leaving Canada on or before June 30, 2017, will not require fumigation in Canada,” said a statement from Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne early Thursday.

According to Pulse Canada, the June 30 deadline will be based on the bill of lading date.

“We will maintain on-going trade while officials on both sides continue to work towards a long-term, science-based solution,” said the ministers.

The current exemption was set to expire on March 31, creating uncertainty about pea and lentil exports to Canada’s largest pulse export market.

Although not official, the head of the India Pulses and Grains Association had told media in India over the weekend that he expected a three month exemption to be issued. Industry people in Western Canada were also optimistic a resolution would be found.

“As Chair of the Pulse Canada Board, I want to thank the Government of Canada, and in particular Minister MacAulay. I was part of Minister MacAulay’s mission to India in early March and know that the Minister, High Commissioner and high level staff have made the long-term resolution of Canadian pulse access to India a top priority,” said Saskatchewan farmer Lee Moats, in a statement. “We will continue to bring the Canadian farmer and Canadian trade perspective to the table and work with the Government of Canada to achieve long-term, predictable access to our largest market.”

In 2016, pulse exports to India were worth over $1.1 billion and accounted for 27.5 percent of Canada’s global pulse exports.

While a three-month extension is welcome, there’s still uncertainty surrounding what happens after June 30th with new crop exports. Will there be another exemption? Will India implement alternative phytosanitary requirements on imports? How will grain companies and exporters handle new crop bids? These are some of the questions that have yet to be answered…

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