MARAN TAKES UP AGRO ISSUES WITH EC COMMISSIONER
COMMISSIONER FISCHLER CALLS ON THE COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER
Date : 18 Apr 2001
Location : New Delhi
Shri Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, took up several agriculture sector issues which are important from the point of view of India's exports to the European Union (EU), such as issues relating to basmati rice and sugar, with Mr. Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development & Fisheries in the European Commission (EC) when the latter called on him here yesterday. Shri Maran urged the European Union (EU) to restore India's annual quota for sugar exports to EU to the original 25,000 tonnes and also to continue the present system of market access for Indian basmati rice in the EU. Shri Maran further stressed the need for some uniformity in respect of sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards for food products, so that EU legislations could be in tune with international standards. India has also urged the EU to quicken the procedure for notifying approved units for Indian marine products; to provide exclusive quota for Indian mushrooms; and generally, to facilitate better market access for other Indian agro products including egg products and floriculture. Shri Prabir Sengupta, Commerce Secretary and Shri Nripendra Misra, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, also participated in the meeting.
On multilateral trade, Shri Maran reiterated India's position that implementation concerns emanating from the Uruguay Round Agreements should be addressed upfront before the launch of any new round. He emphasised the importance of removing the existing distortions and for confidence building measures so that developing countries could participate meaningfully in multilateral trade negotiations. Both sides agreed to have detailed discussions at the level of experts on issues relating to the Agreement on Agriculture. Commissioner Fischler is on an official visit to India from April 16 to 18 to discuss bilateral and multilateral trade issues with Indian leaders and officials. "In the light of the ongoing WTO negotiations on agriculture, there is a need for India and the EU to work together in order to better understand each other's positions", Mr. Fischler said.