DGFT relaxes norms on import of yellow peas; move may help small importers

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has eased its late April notification which barred import of yellow peas.

It has issued a new one, to allow import up to 125 tonnes, covering advance payment made early this year to sellers abroad. Importers traditionally make advance payment of up to 10 per cent of the value for contracts to be executed in the future. This got stuck with DGFT suspending all import of yellow peas without a Letter of Credit (LC), by an April 25 notification.

After which, importers had urged they be allowed to at least get the quantity they had booked or in line with advances already paid. India imports peas primarily from Canada, Ukraine and France.

The DGFT notification says, “Representations have been received from various small importers, for allowing them to import a minimum quantity of three to five full container load per contract, to enable recovering their funds locked with overseas suppliers. It has accordingly been decided to allow import of a maximum of 125 metric tonnes (five full container loads) of peas per contract or less, irrespective of the advance payment made before April 25.”

After that, however, import of peas on advance payment would be again suspended, with traders allowed to import the commodity only through LCs.

“Eligible applicants may accordingly approach their concerned jurisdictional regional authorities for registering and enhancement of their contracts,” DGFT has said.

Till 2016-17, Canada was the largest exporter of peas to India with a total of 2.02 million tonnes (mt) that year, according to data compiled by the Canadian Grain Commission.

India’s import of all varieties of pulses, including peas, has declined since November 2017, when the central government levied 50 per cent import duty on it. Following this, the government also levied a 30 per cent import duty on chickpeas and lentils in December. The duty on chickpeas was raised to 40 per cent in February and further to 60 per cent in March.

“The government’s decision to allow import (up to) 125 tonnes of yellow peas would help small pulses importers to recover the advances they had paid to overseas importers,” said Varinder Machhral, chief executive, India Pulses and Grains Association.

India’s pulses production last year this year is estimated at 24.5 million tonnes. The country 5.5 mt, largely of peas, in 2017-18.

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