‘Give us this day your markets’
The interests of US agribusiness and food exporters is being strenuously supported by a new report from the US International Trade Commission (USITC), released in November 2009, on ‘India: Effects of Tariffs and Non-tariff Measures on US Agricultural Exports’. The report has argued that India’s agricultural tariffs are keeping out American exports, that such obstruction is a concern to the USA, and that removal of these tariffs can result in a leap of up to 60% in US agricultural exports to India.
The USITC report has said: “Despite robust US agricultural exports worldwide, US exports to India are limited, both in value and in the range of products. In 2008, India received less than one-half of 1% of total US agricultural exports and ranked 39th among overseas markets for US agricultural products. Moreover, US agricultural goods accounted for only 6% of the Indian agricultural import market in 2008, compared to an 18% share of global markets.” The report has pointed to what it calls India’s “sizable and growing middle class” which is “expected to reach 500 million by 2025, which includes many affluent urban consumers interested in Western-style foods” as offering great potential for US agricultural business.
The report has complained that the “low level of US agricultural exports to India is a concern to the US agricultural community, business representatives, and policymakers”. The USITC report added that these groups view “high Indian tariffs and burdensome non-tariff measures (NTMs) as principal reasons impeding US products from entering the Indian market”. The study team stated that the USITC through this report has responded to a request by the Senate Committee on Finance for information and analysis on the effects of Indian tariffs and non-tariff measures on US agricultural exports and US agricultural firms operating in India.