The transit of around 200,000 tonnes ($150 million worth) of Australian chickpeas and lentils to India may be affected on account of a new tariff imposed by India
Even as the Federal Government is seeking talks with India in a bid to resolve the issue, the Indian Government announced that its 30 per cent tariff on the imported pulses is effective immediately. During the 2016/17, chickpea exports to India were valued at $1.14 billion and lentils were worth $196 million.
The tariff comes on the back of a 50 per cent tariff imposed on field peas announced about a month ago, while wheat faces a 20 per cent tariff.
Since 2011/12, the value of Australian chickpeas exported to India has increased 995 per cent, while lentil export growth has been higher at 2003 percent in six years.
Australian farmers have said that the new tariff would have a “major effect on the continued development of the industry here in Australia”.
Chairman of Grain Producers Australia Andrew Wiedemann told the media that farmers had been adopting pulses into their crop rotations and this new tariff could have implications on farmers’ earnings.
“If you’re looking at chickpeas at $1,000 per tonne, there’s now $300 per tonne that’s going to have to be carried,” Mr Wiedemann told the press.
Export development officer for AgriSemm Brokerage Peter Semmler said rumours that India was going to impose import duties had already slowed trade down.
Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has said that the Australian Government had made representations to the Indian Government explaining the impact on producers and advocating for a period of transition to avoid disrupting already contracted trade or shipments in transit.
President of the Victorian Farmers Federation David Jochinke called India’s decision “gut-wrenching”, while several other farmers said they may not plant pulses next season.