KOCHI, MARCH 7:
India has temporarily suspended the entry of coffee beans, bamboo, black pepper, cinnamon, cassia and dragon fruit from Vietnam with effect from March 7due to “repeated interception of quarantine pests”.
The decision comes close on the heels of Vietnam announcing that it would suspend import of peanuts, cassia seed, cocoa beans, haricot beans and tamarind from India after 60 days, starting March 1.
In a letter issued this week by the Agriculture Ministry to the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Indian government said that "in view of the repeated interception of quarantine pests, the NPPO India is constrained to suspend the entry" of the commodities.
NPPO, Vietnam has been requested not to issue phyto-sanitary certificates for these six commodities for export to India.
While there is no direct connection between the two suspension orders, it is common for a country to become less tolerant towards its trading partner if its interests are continuously hurt.
Vietnam had earlier suspended imports of peanuts from India in April 2015. The ban was lifted in January 2016 after a Vietnamese delegation visited India and inspected fumigation facilities, export procedures and export certification systems.
According to Vietnam’s statement on the recent ban on five products, the decision was taken following the discovery of live insects in about 3,000 tonnes of peanuts, 24 tonnes of cassia alata seeds bought from India last year and earlier this year.
Infested with insects
All the five products are claimed to have been contaminated with the insect Caryedon serratus Olivier, commonly known as peanut beetle, which is subject to Vietnam’s plant quarantine, the report said.
The trade balance is greatly in India’s favour with the country exporting goods worth $5.26 billion to Vietnam in 2015-16 compared to imports worth $2.5 billion from the country.
A significant part of the Indian imports of black pepper has been from Vietnam this year. Citing the Vietnam General Department of Customs, Kishor Shamji, a veteran exporter, told BusinessLine that India imported 10,399 tonnes, registering an increase of 33.82 per cent over the previous year and became the third-biggest importer.
At the national level total exports may have touched 11,800 tonnes and the total imports were at 16,500 tonnes, he said.
He said around 90 per cent of Indian pepper exports, of late, is re-export of imported pepper after value addition, such as extraction, grinding and sterilisation.
Indian imports of Cassia in 2015-16 stood at 19,405 tonnes valued at Rs 242.22 crore. Imports of other spices, including cinnamon, during the period stood at 11,135 tonnes valued at Rs 517.71 crore.