Import of apples, walnuts from US to be monitored to protect domestic producers: Commerce Ministry

Responding to strong criticism from opposition parties over the recent reductions in import duties on eight products from the US, including apples, walnuts and almonds, the Center on Tuesday clarified that  only countervailing duties were removed and guaranteed, not core duties. that the situation was  closely monitored to ensure that there were no “adverse effects” on domestic producers. The duty on apples, walnuts and almonds has not been reduced, it will continue to be applicable on all imports, including those from the US, at 50%, 100% and ₹100 per kg respectively, explained Peeyush Kumar. Additional Secretary, Commerce Department. 

Additional tasks 

 In 2019, the US removed  additional duties of 20% on apples and walnuts and ₹20 per kg on almonds. This was in retaliation to the Trump administration’s decision to impose  import tariffs of 25 percent on Indian steel and 10 percent on aluminum last year. According to the resolution, the US agreed to waive additional import duties on at least 3.36 lakh tonnes of steel and aluminum imports per year as part of the exit process, while India agreed to waive its countervailing duties on eight of the  28 products. This measure will not have a negative impact on domestic producers of apples, nuts and almonds. Rather, it will lead to competition in the premium markets for apples, walnuts and almonds,  ensuring better quality at competitive prices to our Indian consumers. This would allow American apples, walnuts and almonds to compete equally with all other countries. 

 Imported from USA 

 India’s apple imports from the US fell to just $5.27 million (4,486 tonnes) in 2022-23 from $145 million (127,908 tonnes) in 2018-19 after India imposed counter duties. But imports from countries other than the US rose to $290 million in 2022-23 from $160 million in 2018-2019. This showed that  other countries such as Turkey, Chile, New Zealand and Italy are taking market share of American apples, the official explained. Also, the import of walnuts decreased to 3,806 tons in 2022 from 8,663 tons in 2019. 

 However, Kumar assured that the situation is being monitored and if there is any negative impact on the market  based on the information given by the agriculture ministry and the J and K government, “we will definitely act accordingly”. He said that a regular meeting will be held with the JandK government and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The minimum import price of ₹ 50/kg for imports from all countries except Bhutan was already fixed in May this year after negotiations with J and K, the official added. To ensure that the US maintains the other end of the  steel and aluminum trade, a joint control mechanism has been created to allow domestic exports of at least 3,36,000 tonnes of certain steel and aluminum products  to the US annually without additional duties. 

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