US “very disappointed” over India’s wheat importing norms


New Delhi : The US Tuesday said it is "very disappointed" with the Indian government for not relaxing the stringent quality inspection norms set on imported wheat.

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"We are very disappointed that the Indian government's Committee of Secretaries and Ministry of Agriculture officials have decided against bringing India's unrealistic wheat import phytosanitary requirements in-line with international standards," said a statement from the US embassy.

"India's very low weed seed standard is nearly impossible for any global exporter to meet, raising questions about the reliability of India's import inspection process. The US calls upon the Government of India to conduct independent tests of imported wheat arriving in Indian ports to verify that these standards are truly being met," it said in a strong statement.

Last Thursday the government, under the Committee of Secretaries, decided to continue with its existing norms on imported wheat that the US is not able to meet.

According to the existing norms, the presence of unwanted weed seeds should be less than 100 grains in 200 kg of wheat, while in the US wheat the number of undesired weed seeds present is in excess of 10,000 per 200 kg.

The US has been arguing for a long time now that due to these stringent norms, India pays higher prices for its wheat import putting the burden on the consumers.

"There is no doubt that India's current standards translate into higher bread and flour prices for Indian consumers. The total cost savings to India from relaxing norms and including US wheat in tenders last year, would have resulted in $65 to $85 million in savings," the statement said.