India extends fumigation deal for Canadian pulses

The government of India has agreed to extend by six months an arrangement allowing port-of-arrival fumigation of Canadian pulse crops.

The agreement, for which federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz laid out specifics in a press release Friday from Hong Kong, also commits India to another further six-month extension of the arrangement if need be.

Ritz, in a meeting earlier last week with India’s Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, also agreed to establish a joint Indian-Canadian working group to develop a “permanent resolution” to the issue over the coming year.

The agreement helps to safeguard and expand Canadian pulse crop exports to India, currently worth $342 million out of $445 million in total Canadian ag exports, Ritz’s office said in its release Friday.

Ritz said he and Pawar also discussed live swine, pork and bovine embryos, adding that Pawar agreed to work toward opening access for Canadian pork.

“This will be realized through the efforts of a newly established bilateral working group on veterinary matters over the coming year,” Ritz’s office said in its release.

Ritz’s announcement Friday followed the signing last Tuesday of what the government calls the “first comprehensive memorandum of understanding” between Canada and India.

“These new marketing opportunities will help Canada to weather the current economic uncertainty and come out stronger than ever,” Ritz said, referring to this agreement plus Canada’s new agreement in principle to restore Canadian beef producers’ market access in Hong Kong.

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