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US Senators ask Trump to push for pulse provisions in trade deal with India

Their constituencies, Montana and North Dakota, are major pulse producing states

By PTI in Washington

  • Published 21.02.20, 9:04 AM
  • Updated 21.02.20, 9:04 AM
Security personnel patrol the premises of Taj Mahal ahead of US President Donald Trumps visit, in Agra, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Security personnel patrol the premises of Taj Mahal ahead of US President Donald Trumps visit, in Agra, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 PTI

Two US Senators have urged President Donald Trump to "push for favourable pulse crop provisions" in any trade deal the United States signs with India.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25. There have been talks about India and the United States agreeing on a trade package as a precursor to a major trade deal.

"As you prepare for your upcoming trip to India, we write to encourage you to push for favourable pulse crop provisions in any deal the United States may sign with the Republic of India," two Republican Senators Kevin Cramer and Steve Daines wrote in a letter to Trump.

Daines represents the state of Montana, while Cramer is from North Dakota. Both Montana and North Dakota are major pulse producing states.

In their letter dated February 19, the two Senators said Montana and North Dakota are the top two producers of pulses in the United States and India is the world's largest consumer of pulse crops, contributing to approximately 27 per cent of the world's consumption.

The most commonly consumed pulse crops in India are lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, and peas, yet India has levied substantial tariffs on American pulse crops.

"Unfair Indian tariffs on pulse crops have substantially harmed our producers back home," they wrote.

"Following the removal of lndia from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on June 5, 2019, additional tariffs were placed on American pulse crops. Currently, tariff rates are 30 per cent for dried beans, 50 per cent for lentils and peas, and 70 per cent for chickpeas. As a result, US pulse crop producers face a significant competitive disadvantage when exporting to India," the two Senators wrote to Trump.

"At a time when many producers have been struggling to make ends meet, your work to expand market opportunities for US farm commodities has been critical. Engaging Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi on pulse crop tariffs as part of larger discussions to enhance the economic cooperation between our countries would be mutually beneficial to both American producers and Indian consumers," Cramer and Daines wrote.

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