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Amul requests for a relook at EU-India FTA

TNN | Mar 27, 2013

Amul requests for a relook at EU-India FTA

VADODARA/ANAND: Country’s largest dairy co-operative - Amul - has requested the commerce ministry to relook at the European Union (EU)-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Managing director R S Sodhi of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets homegrown Amul brand has written to the minister of commerce on Monday requesting him to be careful while negotiating in the interest of farmers of the country.

Amul has strongly opposed to provide any kind of advantage in import duty on dairy products falling under Chapter 4 of Harmonised System of Nomenclature (HSN).

"EU does not permit import of dairy products from India in the name of Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) measures saying that Indian milch animals are not maintained as per EU standard and hence the dairy products are not safe for consumption," Sodhi said on Tuesday.

EU also subsidizes their milk farmers by giving various incentives on export of their dairy products which actually make their products cheaper than the cost.

"So, EU wants to export such subsidized dairy products to India considering India as very large and growing market, without giving access to the Indian dairy products to its own market with large NRI population," Sodhi said.

According to GCMMF officials, EU demands also reveal that they want protection of some of cheeses like Gouda, Feta, Emmenthal under Geographical Indication (GI) protection, meaning that Indian cheese producers cannot give such name to their cheese.

At the same time, they want to sell Indian ethnic products like paneer and lassi in their own market without giving any protection to India.

"Essentially, EU is asking India to give more monopoly protection in the areas (GIs) where it has more intellectual property. This will cost Indian consumers (who have to pay higher prices) and Indian producers (who will no longer be able to clearly identify their products and so are highly likely to lose sales) who are already in nascent stage of agro food processing industry," he said.

Amul has requested the commerce ministry to take up the matter strongly against this protection as majority of the 80 million Indian farmers are dependent on milk business.

 source: Times of India