Chinese authorities have given a green light to the importation of Indian basmati rice, after a long and arduous six-year process of negotiations.
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) told Indian trade authorities that the gates have been opened.
A final push was given to discussions when the Chinese President Hu Jintao travelled to New Delhi last month for the BRICS Summit.
Exports cannot begin immediately though as both countries need to agree on a mutually satisfactory quarantine protocol, a spokesperson for the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of India told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Once agreed on, China will have to circulate the certificate to all its ports and customs authorities before imports can begin entering the country,” he said.
According to him, Chinese authorities are reluctant to allow agricultural and food products from India. “India is still waiting for a nod to more than a dozen other agricultural products.”
Though no official estimates have been made recently, an APEDA report from 2007 estimated that there could be trade worth US$50m if China accepted Indian basmati rice.
China does however import basmati rice from Pakistan.