US senators want India to open up farm goods market

The US wants India to open up its market for subsidised US farm goods even as the two countries are at odds at the world trade talks over agricultural market access.

Two influential senators have asked India to give more market access for US agricultural products citing a report that alleged that Indian tariff and non-tariff measures are creating barriers for US farm exports to India.

Senate finance committee chairman Max Baucus, and ranking member Chuck Grassley asked the Obama government to step up trade negotiations and increase trade facilitation for US farm goods exporters.

The report also says India's tariffs and non-tariff measures raise the cost or prohibit farm exports of heavily subsidised US agricultural exports to India.

The report 'India: Effects of Tariffs and Non Tariff Measures on US Agricultural Exports' was released by the US International Trade Commission (USITC), at the request of the senate committee on finance.

India's WTO-bound tariff rates on agricultural products, average 114 per cent and rates vary from 50 to 150 per cent, depending on the product, the report said.

This, the report points out, is much higher than in other major developing countries such as Brazil and China.

While the average applied farm tariff rates in India have declined from 113 per cent in 1991 to about 34 per cent in 2007, USITC said these are also some of the highest in the world.