Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey expressed his concern
and disappointment with the Indian Government’s surprising decision to impose a
30 per cent tariff on lentil and chickpea imports last Friday.
“I have been in contact with Trade Minister Steve Ciobo
regarding the Indian decision who has already asked the Indian authorities to
adopt a period of transition to avoid disrupting already contracted trade or
shipments in transit.
“Lentils in particular have become a very important part of
our South Australian farming economy providing a wonderful high price cash crop
in recent years”, Mr Ramsey said. “In that time millions of dollars have been
invested in infrastructure to harvest, store and market Australian lentils, so
this decision by the Indian Government is causing huge concerns for both the
lentil and chickpea industries.”
“It also comes at a very in-opportune time with the new
harvest just coming to completion meaning pulse crops are at various stages of
marketing with some currently on transit to India.”
In 2016-17, Australia exported $1.1 billion of chickpeas and
$195.9 million of lentils to India.
“The Indian Government is within its rights to impose such a
tariff on products coming into their country but generally speaking what we
have seen in the past is that tariffs such as these not only damage the source
country but in the longer-term damage growers in the destination market as they
react to false and distorted market signals.”
“This incident underlines the value of Free-Trade Agreements
and demonstrates why the Federal Government has worked so hard in this area.
Free access to international markets is essential for our farmers and our
industries. We simply can’t sell all we make and grow to ourselves.”
“It also sends a message that voters should clearly
understand when some parties announce radical protectionist policies they
undermine our efforts to find new markets.”
“The Federal Government will do what it can to prevail upon
the Indian Government to unwind this new tariff and I will continue to receive
briefings from the Department of Trade as well as Minister Ciobo and relay
relevant information back to growers as details and updates become available,”
Mr Ramsey said.
Port Pirie Office 08 8633 1744 5 January 2018