New Delhi: India has made it clear to the European Union that it will not allow duty-free imports of wheat, barley, lemons, apples, pears and meslin flour under a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Senior ministry of agriculture officials are quoted as saying that the EU had asked for duty elimination on wheat, barely, apple, pear, lemon and meslin flour but they have been told that no concessions would be allowed on the import of these products as these items were sensitive to the Indian economy and any alteration of duty structures would likely impact domestic farmers and prices.
Currently, Delhi imposes 100% import duty on wheat and meslin flour, 50% on apples, 40% on lemon and lime and 35% on pears.
In the case of horticulture and vegetable products, Indian farmers would be particularly at a disadvantage as post-harvest technology in the country is not fully developed or at RU at EU standards, officials said.
The EU and India hope to increase trade in goods and services through the proposed FTA and say negotiations are on track for the agreement to be signed.
Negotiations for the FTA commenced in 2007.
India does not import wheat, and only occasionally flour, as the country's production is adequate to meet local demand. Earlier, India banned export of wheat in a bid to strengthen domestic supplies and contain food inflation.