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Apple imports to India blocked by odd GMO requirement

According to EastFruit, since March 1, apple imports to India have practically stopped due to the need for additional certification that there are no GMO apples in the supplies.

Most market participants are outraged by these requirements and consider them only an additional non-tariff trade barrier. Currently, there is only one GM apple variety in the world that is allowed for commercial cultivation in the United States, and it has never been shipped to India.

In the European Union and anywhere else in the world, there is no single genetically modified apple variety that would be allowed for commercial production. Therefore, in the opinion of representatives of industry associations, it is entirely illogical to require additional confirmation of the absence of GM varieties in the supplied batches. It increases the cost of trade, which, incidentally, will be passed on to apple consumers in India.

Read also: Unexpected facts and typical misconceptions about the Indian apple market from EastFruit

Given the situation, many countries are trying to resolve the problem through negotiations at the diplomatic level quickly. In particular, it is reported that Italy received a temporary permit for the supply of apples with a simplified form of certification, or rather, a declaration of the absence of GM apples in the batch. Chile, according to preliminary data, has already found a certification solution and continues to supply.

Simultaneously, the United States, which supplies India mainly with Red Delicious apples, which are not GMOs, are trying to force India to withdraw the requirements for GM-certification of supplies.

According to EastFruit, in 2020, India imported more than 215,000 tons of apples – 11% less than a year earlier. Thus, apple imports to India have been steadily declining for the third year in a row. In 2017, it exceeded 330,000 tons.

The leading supplier of apples to India was the United States, accounting for 19% of total imports. Although two years ago, the United States’ share in Indian imports of fresh apples exceeded 50%. Turkey took second place for the first time, with 32,000 tons of apples delivered to the Indian market during the calendar year. The third, also for the first time, was Iran with 28,000 tons. Italy, New Zealand and Chile were also major suppliers. It is also worth noting the first significant deliveries of 162 tons of apples from Serbia to the Indian market. At the same time, Ukraine dropped out of the list of apple suppliers to India and did not receive permanent exports approval.


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