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Russia bans Indian rice imports - minister
By Reuters
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Russia has halted imports of rice from India after it said it had detected a banned pesticide in shipments, a minister told parliament on Tuesday. "The Russian side has stated the cause as detection of dimethoate, which is not admissible under Russian regulations," Junior Commerce Minister Jairam Ramesh said. Ramesh said Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia's animal and plant health watchdog, imposed a ban on the import of Indian rice on April 27 due to the "purported detection of pesticides". Traders confirmed the move. "Russian authorities recently found this particular pesticide residue in one of the small consignments from India," an official at LT Overseas, one of India's top rice exporters, said.

The official, who did not wish to be identified, said the pesticide was not usually found in Indian rice.

"India and Russia are in talks to sort it out and we believe exports will resume soon," he said.

Ramesh said New Delhi would contest the ban.

Rosselkhoznadzor said in February that inspectors had discovered Indian farmers did not supply processing plants with information on pesticides used during rice growing, which it said may present a health risk.

It had threatened to ban rice imports from India from May 1 if shipments were not accompanied by certificates stating which pesticides had been used to treat them.

Russia used to import 400,000-500,000 tonnes of rice per year until it imposed a tariff of 70 euros per tonne in April 2005. Imports shrank to 300,000-350,000 tonnes, but India remained a major supplier.

In February, Moscow set seasonal import tariffs on rice imports to protect domestic producers.
MGR Archive 20.5.2007
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