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Australia’s peak national grain grower advocacy group has welcomed overnight news of India’s move to reduce trade barriers for lentils imported from Australia.

Australian industry members were advised that India will reduce the effective import tariff on lentils from Australia from 33 per cent to 11pc, effective 27 July.

The advice also indicated a reduction in the basic customs duty for lentils, originating in or exported from countries other than the USA, from 10 per cent to nil.

The stated reason is to boost domestic supply and check rising prices in India, with no expiry date for the reduction indicated as yet.

The ABARES June crop report has estimated 409,000 hectares of lentils were planted in Australia this year, with a 588,000 tonnes crop expected to be harvested.Last year’s lentil production was 634,000/t with 368,000/ha planted.

Grain Producers Australia Chair, Andrew Weidemann, said India’s import tariff reduction was good news for lentil growers, representing an opportunity to assess the market and take advantage of any price increases.

“Growers understand the importance of tariff reductions in export markets such as this and the potential to translate the removal of these barriers into better returns on-farm,” he said.

“GPA has always been a strong supporter of removing barriers to fair trade, to ensure a level playing field and deliver better selling opportunities for Australian grain farmers in export markets.”

Mr Weidemann noted a reduction of the tariff on lentil shipments arriving from Australia, from 33pc to 11pc last year was temporary and only stood for grain arriving by 31 August 2020. On 18 September 202 this was again reduced to 11pc before returning to 33pc on December 31.

Recent analysis by Thomas Elder Markets has also looked at the impact of Canada’s production challenges this year, on Indian lentil imports.

See the announcement here.

Background – Grains Industry Market Access Forum

Australia has exported about 840,000/t of lentils to India in the last 10 years at an average of 84,000/t per year. The largest export year was 2016/17 with 248,000/t.

Lentils vary in price from more than $1000/t in some years, and below $500/t in others. Currently the price is $800-850/t which may go higher with this announcement.



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