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Indian mangoes reach US market; set eyes on China, Africa, East Asianews
02 May 2007

Mumbai: Indian mangoes reached American market after nearly two decades, in an event hailed by the US as an "important step" to bolster bilateral trade.

The first consignment of Alphonso and Kesari mangoes that landed in Washington on May 1, a year after president George W Bush and prime minister Manmohan Singh launched the mango initiative, tickled the palate of top American officials, who said it represented more than just a market opening for the fruit.

"The Indian mangoes I enjoyed today represent more than just a market opening for one product," said an excited US trade representative Susan Schwab.

During his visit to India in March 2006, president Bush had expressed a keen desire to import the king of fruits.

The Indian mango exports signal the resolve of both sides to forge stronger trade ties and create significant new economic opportunities for the people of the two countries, trade officials said.

"US willingness to purchase Indian mangoes is another important step towards deeper engagement and more robust US-India trade," said Ron Somers, president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC).

Both Indian ambassador Ronen Sen and foreign secretary Shivshanker Menon who were present at a press conference at the embassy said the mangoes issue played a symbolic but substantive part in bilateral relations.

After resuming its mango exports to the US, India is now eyeing Chinese, African and East Asian markets, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said.

''''A special task force (STF) will soon be formed to overcome the hurdles faced by the country while exporting agri products,'''' Nath said during annual export awards function organised by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development (APEDA).

He, however, warned of strict retaliatory actions if sanitary and phytosanitary measures were not met.

The agricultural exports, he said, represent one of the most important sectors in the country, contributing 10 per cent of the world trade.

Commerce Secretary G K Pillai called for a change in the country''s agri export strategy to tap a quantum of global agricultural market.

''''A large share of the world''s agricultural market can be captured if we remodel our agricultural export strategy'''' said Mr Pillai.

He also stressed the agricultural export in the country was growing at a rate of 14.2 per cent against the target 17 per cent.

''''We are making constant efforts to promote and develop export high quality agri products through development of infrastructure, promotion of quality standards and dissemination of market intelligence,'''' APEDA chairman K S Money said.

He also said a number of export facilitation and market access initiatives have been taken by APEDA that have resulted in the opening of a new market for mangoes in Japan.

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Indian mangoes reach US market; set eyes on China, Africa, East Asia