The US is keen to export soyabean meal -- an animal feed -- to India and wants the later to reduce the customs duty, a top US official said today.
In the long term, the US is also looking at signing a free trade agreement (FRA) with India, he added.
India exports soyabean meal but also imports in small quantity as high customs duty are high at 15 per cent.
"We would like to have access to the (soyabean meal) market. ...I think that brings more profitability to farmers," the US Under Secretary Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs Ted A McKinney told reporters.
However, the customs duty on soyabean meal need to reduced from the current level, he said.
Asked why would India import soyabean meal from the US when it is an exporter, McKinney said, "You may export the meal. We are told by your own feed processors that they need more protein." The US is keen to supply high protein ingredients like soyabean meal and Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (which is made out of corn), he added.
Stating that there is huge potential in India, McKinney said that the US would love to have free trade pact with India in the long term.
At present, there is agri trade deficit between the two nations. India exported agri-commodities worth USD 2.6 billion in 2017 calendar year, while imported commodities worth USD 1.6 billion in the said period, he said.
"There is a significant trade deficit in India's favour. ...That's a sour point a bit..," he said and noted that the US is investing time in building relations with India to strike the right balance over the time.
Asked about the US' opinion on India's proposal to fix support price 50 per cent higher than the cost of production, McKinney said: "We hope that Indian government and its consumers understand that they are paying very high cost for food, which could be lowered... This comes with time.
"We learnt those lessons as well and that's why we have changed a lot of our programmes. We don't give subsidies anymore...We have safety nets and insurance nets. Those are all funded by farmers. ...We just have to see how it goes," he added.
He also noted that tariffs are not a good thing if India wants to get into free trade and if it wants highest quality and at lowest cost.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)