July 6, 2018
India has repudiated to flaccid under US pressure for grant of market access to its dairy products and has maintained that the mandatory certification, specifying that imported dairy items were not from cattles fed on bovine extracts or items made of the same. These criteria cannot be discarded as it was a matter of religious belief.
“Indian officials have told USTR officials that while the country was exploring how the problem arising from price caps on medical equipment could be sorted out, it could not compromise on dairy certification,” a government official said.
Dairy products and medical equipment top the list of items for which the US is seeking market access. “The certification requirement is not a non-tariff barrier that we have put in place for the US. It has cultural and religious significance for the country and not abiding by the requirement could lead to sentiments getting hurt and unrest,” the official said.
Other countries such EU members and New Zealand, that are exporting dairy products to India, all abide by the mandatory requirement and give a certification that the items were from animals that were not fed on bovine meat or extracts, the official added.
Although, the US has been making the same demand on behalf of its dairy industry for a long time and is aware of the religious angle to the restrictions, it has started pushing for it aggressively in the last few months.
A team of officials from India will visit Washington this month for a follow-up meeting with their US counterparts.