Commodity News

India’s Move for Allowing Australian Lentil Import Excites Local Exporters

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

In another important development on pulses trade front, India has recently opened the door to Australian lentil imports for the first time in three years by announcing significant reduction in the tariffs. Government of India has reduced the import tariff on red lentils from 33% to 11% and the reduction shall remain valid till August 31, 2020. Trade in chana and lentils (Masur) effectively ceased after the tariff was introduced three years back. Stockpiles soared in Australia during 2017 after trading halted, when India introduced the 33% tariff with the country.

The tariff structure was presented in a Gazette dated June 2 which announced a tariff of 10 per cent (plus 10 per cent tax) would be applied to red lentils until August 31, thus reducing the new effective rate to 11 per cent. Imports of red lentils from Australia have grown significantly between 2011-12 and end of 2017, - it was a nearly 2,003 per cent growth, worth $196 million. The reduction in the tariff shall be applicable to all countries, willing to supply Indian importers, except the United States.

However, there was no change on the 60pc tariff on Australian chickpeas. According to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) data Australia produced 3.23 Lakh tonnes of lentils in 2019-20, with major contribution from Victoria and South Australia. India is the largest importer of pulses in the world. The move has been welcomed by the Australian lentil exporters as it will enhance cross border trades, and resolve their problems of excess supply issues, resulting from holding old crops.

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