EU Food and Agriculture Seminar in Delhi discusses ways to promote EU-India agri-food trade

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A seminar on Food Standards, Farming Policy and Trade organised by European Union in Delhi recently discussed ways to grow Agri-food trade between EU and India. The seminar brought together food and farming policy experts from the European Union, representatives of major EU food sectors (including dairy, meats, fruit and vegetables as well as wines and spirits), Indian government, research and academia and business representatives.

The objective of the seminar was to explain how the European Union (EU) guarantees that its food and beverage products are safe, authentic and of high quality. Through the seminar, both EU and India got an opportunity to share views and exchange best practices on policy and regulatory perspectives on harmonised food safety and quality model and sanitary and phytosanitary standards in the world that can ultimately benefit both farmers and consumers.

The seminar deliberated on various topics including EU food and farming policy and food safety regime, consumer protection, geographical indications and other key issues. This was followed by dedicated, business-led sessions on dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables, wines and spirit drinks and olive oil.

The seminar also deliberated ways to boost EU-India trade in agri-food products. Chaired by John Clarke, International Affairs Director from Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, the debate had distinguished Indian panellists including Prof. Biswajit Dhar of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, representatives of the Forum of Indian Food Importers and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

This Open House provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss key EU policies in the agri-food sector, benefits and challenges of the Indian market especially to the European businesses.

From the Indian side, Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Dr. Ashok Dalwai, Chairman of the Committee on Doubling of Farmers’ Income, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare spoke at the seminar, while from the EU side, the seminar was attended by Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India along with other EU experts and officials. Agriculture and Commercial representatives from different EU Member States were also present.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner and has a negative trade balance with India. The EU sees opportunities for increasing exports to India. Overall, the value of EU imports in agri-food sector from India amounted to €3153 million in 2018 and continues to increase, creating a great opportunity to the Indian producers. In the same year, the EU exported to India agri-food products of the total value of just €849 million.

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