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India to fight flimsy curbs on exports to US, Europe

India to take head-on the US and EU which restrict imports from developing countries by putting in place 'arbitrary or unjustifiable' quality standards ostensibly to protect plants, animals and humans against diseases.

, ET Bureau|
May 04, 2009, 02.00 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: India has decided to take head-on countries such as the US and EU which restrict imports from developing countries by putting in place ���arbitrary or unjustifiable������ quality standards ostensibly to protect plants, animals and humans against diseases.

In its suggestion to the World Trade Organization on the proposed review of the sanitary & phytosanitary (SPS) agreement���a pact guiding quality restrictions put in place by countries���it has said there should be a detailed analysis of such guidelines imposed by major developed countries to see to what extent they block trade.

The WTO���s SPS agreement, which lays down that SPS measures imposed by countries should be based on international standards like Codex and ISO, lacks teeth as it is vague and open to interpretation. Attempts are on to review the SPS pact to make it more effective.

���WTO may seek to analyse some SPS measures of key trading members that have a major effect on exports from other countries and try to objectively assess to what extent they are arbitrary or unjustifiable,��� said a representation made to the WTO���s SPS committee by the Indian mission to the world body.

India has not been able to export a number of its products, especially farm produce, to countries including the US, EU, Australia and Japan as they have stringent SPS guidelines that often go beyond international standards such as Codex. In case of EU, many member countries have different SPS guidelines leading to a lot of confusion for exporters.

India also sought a review of the progress on development of guidelines to ensure members avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable distinctions in the level of protection they consider to be appropriate in different situations, if these result in discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.
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