China allows imports of basmati rice from India
Apr 24 2012, 14:50 | By PTI
China has finally allowed imports of basmati rice from India, which comes as a big boost to exporters who would now get access to a huge market of 1.3 billion people for their about 4.5 million tonnes of aromatic rice.
"It is a very positive move by China ... We are in touch with basmati producers back home to see how to take this forward," said Indian ambassador to China S Jaishankar. China had banned imports of several Indian agricultural products, including basmati rice, because of the issues of pest control and monitoring of quarantine pests in processing and storage houses in India. The approval came after passing through testing procedures of the Chinese official bodies.
The Indian Embassy is planning to conduct a publicity campaign to push basmati rice into the Chinese markets. The diplomats here regard it as a diplomatic success considering that Beijing was found dithering ever since New Delhi formally sought an opening for India's top rice in 2006.
Experts opined that to start with, India exporters should aim for star hotels and Indian restaurants which are mushrooming all over China to take advantage of steady increase of Indian and foreign travellers here. "It is good news for us. We are getting our basmati so far from Hong Kong. We can now directly buy it," said M H Pastakia, owner of Taj Pavilion restaurants in Beijing. The move would also help in bridging the ballooning trade gap between India and China which stood at about $20 billion.
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