A year in to a trying time for pulse movement into India, and there are some reports of a slight uptick in Canadian tonnage moving in to the country. It’s not that the tariff or fumigation situation is resolved — instead, reports of dry local conditions could be putting a damper on domestic production.
Regardless of weather, Canada’s pulse industry has been working hard to resolve the tariff and fumigation challenges, while also continuing work on diversifying markets for our lentils, peas, chickpeas, and more.
Greg Northey, director of industry relations for Pulse Canada, says that Canada is not the only country that has struggled to move product under the 33% and 50% tariff levels, and that the industry is working with the WTO to try and get some clarity and certainty around how India plans to handle tariffs in the future.
The other big issue is the fumigation exemption that Canada had, until recently, been functioning under. It’s a phytosanitary issue, Northey says, and Canada has been working to get India comfortable with our process and our standards so as not to face a 5x fumigation penalty.
The tariff issues with India are not going away any time soon, however the situation isn’t static either. There’s an upcoming election in India — and drought conditions could wiggle some of these tariffs loose, couldn’t they? “It’s going to be a combination of things,” Northey says, and adds that there has been a slight increase in crop moving into the country. (story continues below video)
With any challenge comes opportunity, of course, and Northey adds that trade flows have certainly shifted, especially in the pea market. “China has been a great buyer of peas (in the last year),” he says, “but we have a large carryout of lentils.”
Where else can we sell these protein-rich pulses? Northey says the industry continues to see great promise with protein flours and fractionations as an expanding market for pulse ingredients. This market growth could require domestic processing capacity, but he says there’s enough potential for both domestic value-adding and raw product exports across North America, Western Europe, and the world.