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Saturday, July 28, 2007

India's wheat import rules unrealistic: US

NEW DELHI: The United States on Wednesday criticised India's wheat import regulations as "unrealistic" after strict controls on weed presence, fumigation and inspection barred purchases of US grain in a recent tender. In May, it appeared officials from the two countries were moving closer to an agreement on wheat import standards after a visit by an Indian delegation, but substantial hurdles remain.

"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," the US Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement. "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 statement added.

India requires a lower level of weed seeds in grain than typically requested in international tenders. India paid 10 to 20% more for wheat purchases made last year than Egypt, the statement said.

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