Indian import tax on chickpeas and lentils leaves Australian industry reeling

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

India has imposed a new tariff on chickpea imports. ©iStock
India has imposed a new tariff on chickpea imports. ©iStock

Related tags International trade

India has imposed a 30% tariff on imports of chickpeas and lentils, effective immediately, a little more than a month since it introduced a 50% tax on field peas imports.

The announcement came at the peak of the Australian harvest, when much of its export trade was getting underway for the year.

Trade group Pulse Australia is working to have products that had already been shipped before the announcement exempt from the new tariff.

Chairman Ron Storey said: "India should provide an exemption for Indian importers for product contracted and shipped prior to the new tariff being announced. Indian buyers and Australia sellers have contracted in good faith, and the prior conditions should apply to permit smooth execution of those contracts.”

Vital protein source

“Second, there is the longer term issue of the impact of tariffs on food security,”​ said Storey. “While India strives for self-sufficiency in pulse production, most projections are that India’s reliance on imports for the foreseeable future must continue to guarantee the security of this vital protein source for the Indian population.”

The organisation says that market interventions such as those seen over recent months in India create uncertainty and commercial risk for countries such as Australia, which it says strives to be a reliable food exporter. 

On a brighter note, Australian growers can take heart from signs of stronger demand for Australian chickpeas and lentils from other markets such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"Recent business will help the supply chain keep our exports moving,"​ said Storey.

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