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Basmati comes under EC protection
Business, New Delhi, September 15, 2004
Close on the heels of allowing duty free access to six varieties of Indian Basmati rice from September 1, the European Commission has now agreed to protect it under its regulations pertaining to geographical indications.

Senior government officials told Business Standard that the EC has informed India that it would welcome an application for protection as a geographical indication of Basmati rice under its 1992 regulations on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. India already protects Basmati rice as a geographical indication but now the EC too would recognise this.

India and the European Commission have already resolved the issue of duty on Basmati rice. While a tariff of Euro 65 per tonne would be imposed on husked rice, for six varieties of Basmati rice the import duty would be zero.

The six varieties are -- Basmati 370, Basmati 386, Type-3 (Dehradun), Taraori Basmati (HBC-19), Basmati 271, Ranbir Basmati, Pusa Basmati and Super Basmati.

Since the Basmati rice being exported to the EC would have to undergo DNA testing, both countries have also agreed to set up a community control system based on DNA analysis at the border.

Officials said that during the discussions held under the auspices of the sub-committee on trade, EC raised the point that there should be 100 per cent purity in case of each variety of Basmati rice exported by India to EC member countries.

"We are seeking a relaxation in this demand since the different varieties of Basmati rice often get mixed up at the mandis. It is rather difficult to ensure that a consignment contains 100 per cent of only one variety," an official said.

Under the present agreement, the EC will have the right to seek consultations with India in case of any market disturbance i.e. a sudden surge in imports.

In case no agreement is reached, then the EU will reserve the right to impose a tariff of 65 euro per tonne on the six varieties of basmati rice.

During 2003-04, India's exports of basmati rice totaled 7.10 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 2,062 crore (Rs 20.62 billion) against 6.67 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 1,842 crore the previous year.
MGR Archive 15.9.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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