On July 22, Assistant to the Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor
Vasiliy Lavrovsky took part in the meeting of Co-Presidents of the
Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission on Trade, Economic, Science and
Technology Cooperation. Within the framework of the meeting the Russian side
was headed by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yury Borisov, the
Indian side – by a newly appointed External Affairs Minister of the Republic of
India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
The agenda envisaged discussions of a wide range of trade,
economic and investment issues in various industries of Russia and India
including cooperation in transport, energy and industry, notably, space. A
particular attention was attributed to the state of the Russian-Indian
relations in agro-industrial complex. Among other things, the Parties
reiterated problematic issues of ensuring veterinary and phytosanitary safety
which persisted in mutual trade in agricultural products.
Within the discussion of those questions the Indian Party
was presented by Additional Secretary of the Department of Agriculture,
Cooperation and Farmers Welfare of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture Alka
Bhargava. In her speech, she noted the increase in trade turnover and restated
the desires of the Indian business to ameliorate access of Indian buffalo meat,
fish and sea products, dairy products and egg powder and to extend the list of
exported fruit products. Alka Bhargava mentioned that the Ministry was
considering the requests by the Rosselkhoznadzor to harmonize veterinary
accompanying documents for poultry meat and by-products, wool and rawhide, feed
and feed additives and also fish and sea products and pledged to take a
decision on those items.
In his response Vasiliy Lavrovsky drew the attention of the
persons present at the meeting to the fact that the trade balance for food
products between Russia and India was particularly high (by 10 times) in favour
of India. This happens due to excessive SPS requirements of the Indian side
(for example, for fumigation of Russian grains with methyl bromide) and
unjustified hindering during consideration of Russian requests regarding
conditions for exports of Russian livestock products subject to animal health
control to India.
Vasiliy Lavrovsky reminded the participants that the
majority of Indian products exported to the Russian market belonged to a
higher-risk group due to spread of dangerous animal diseases and quarantine
plant pests in India. Eliminating of those risks incurs additional expenses to
the Rosselkhoznadzor, notably, for monitoring and control. Thus, it is the
Indian party that should launch the initiative to enhance the access to the
market. In order to prop up the transparency of the decisions taken the Parties
agreed to promote cooperation of research institutes in the veterinary and
phytosanitary field and reaffirmed their intentions to fulfill obligations
under the Protocol of the 23rd Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission.
At the conclusion of the consultations, the Parties
reiterated their interest in developing an Action Strategy for Trade and
Economic Cooperation which, inter alia, provided for cooperation in agriculture
and agreed to continue working in the course of the Eastern Economic Forum.