India suspends tariff on Australian chickpeas

South Australian grain producers have welcomed India’s relaxing of the significant tariffs it imposed on Australian Desi chickpeas in 2017.

May 08, 2024, updated May 08, 2024
The Indian government has announced a suspension of tariffs on Australian chickpeas. Photo: Unsplash

The Indian government has announced a suspension of tariffs on Australian chickpeas. Photo: Unsplash

The tariffs, which were initially equivalent to around 33 per cent and then rose to around 66 per cent, have been suspended until March 31 2025, effective immediately.

India initially imposed tariffs on Australian chickpeas and lentils in 2017, following a 50 per cent tariff on field peas and a 20 per cent tariff on wheat.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of chickpeas, according to the US Department of Agriculture, having exported over 2 million tonnes of the legume in 2017 pre-tariffs. India was Australia’s largest chickpea export market at the time.

Following the tariffs, Bangladesh and Pakistan accounted for nearly 80 per cent of Australia’s chickpea exports in 2022.

Grain Producers SA (GPSA) has welcomed the decision to suspend the tariffs, with South Australia averaging more than 36,000 tonnes of chickpea exports annually since 2019.

“South Australia plays an important role in chickpea production, and the tariff suspension will undoubtedly enhance market opportunities,” GPSA CEO Brad Perry said.

“This development underscores the importance of continued collaboration and engagement between governments and industry stakeholders.”

The change comes after years of advocacy from impacted groups, including Grain Producers Australia and GPSA.

“GPSA actively supported the previous calls to remove the chickpea tariffs to India,” Perry said.

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“The suspension of tariffs not only ensures ongoing market opportunities for Australian chickpeas but also fosters competition in key export markets.”

India dropped the tariffs on lentils in 2022, while the pea tariff was suspended from December 2023 to March 2024, with the suspension since extended to October 31.

Peter Wilson, chair of Grains Australia Pulse Council, said the suspension presented “a great opportunity for Australian producers to expand their presence in the Indian pulse market”.

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