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Canadian farmers may end up paying the price for Justin Trudeau's adventurism.

Date: 28-09-2023
Subject: Canadian farmers may end up paying the price for Justin Trudeau's adventurism
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's reckless allegations linking the Indian government to the murder of Khalistani terrorist and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar at a gurdwara in Surrey in June can have far-reaching implications for ties between the two countries. Many think Trudeau has thrown Canada's national interest under the bus for narrow political gains. The trade ties between the two countries have started to show signs of frazzling, arguably to Canada's loss.

Trudeau's adventurism is showing an impact on India's import of lentils from Canada. Canadian lentil sales to India have slowed since he hurled the allegations at India last week, due to fears of reprisal from India that could limit trade, industry sources in both countries told Reuters.

In a letter to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Delhi Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) on Monday urged the Central government to ban import of lentils from Canada to exert economic pressure on it.

Indian buyers bought significant supplies of Canadian lentils earlier in the year for delivery after harvest, Kevin Price, senior export merchant at Winnipeg-based crop trader Parrish & Heimbecker, told Reuters. "Obviously we're concerned about making sure (the sales) get executed," Price said, adding that he's not aware of any cancellations. "Do they want to take on more now? No. They're taking a wait-and-see attitude."

Since Trudeau's comments Indian offers for Canadian supplies have dropped 6% to around $770 per metric ton, Price said.

"Industry officials are concerned that there could be trade restrictions by the governments owing to current tensions between the countries," Nitin Gupta, senior vice president of Olam Agri India, a major importer, told Reuters, though government sources said there was no such plan.

India is diversifying its import of lentils and is no longer heavily dependent on one country. The import of lentils from Australia has increased to nearly two lakh tonnes. India has also started importing lentils from Russia. A consignment of Russian lentils landed at Chennai port in August.

If over the years India weans itself off Canadian imports of lentils, it might cause lowering of prices in Canada and the Canadian farmers will pay the price for Trudeau's reckless posturing against India.

Government data shows that in 2022-23 India imported 4.85 lakh tonnes of lentil worth Rs 3,012 crore from Canada, and between April and June this year, nearly one lakh tonnes of lentil has been imported from Canada.

“Against our annual consumption of 23 lakh tonne of lentils, the domestic production is around 16 lakh tonne. As nearly six lakh tonne of it has reached our ports we are comfortable and confident of not facing any problem,” an official told TOI. Most of the lentils from Canada are already here.

Sources told TOI the government is likely to continue zero import duty on lentils beyond March 2024 to give a clear indication to overseas growers. India fully exempted lentils imported from the US from any sort of customs duty recently. "Australia has surpassed Canada in terms of lentil imports this year," Rahul Chauhan of agri commodity research firm iGrain India told ET recently. If growing diversification of India's lentil imports continues in future, it will ensure India can reduce imports  ..

If Canadian farmers suffer on account of dwindling Indian imports in the coming years, it will prove that Trudeau has bartered his country's interests for his narrow electoral gains which he hopes to make by appeasing the Khalistani voters.

Source Name : Economic Times

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