By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -India has agreed to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products into India, removing a longstanding barrier to U.S. agricultural trade, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday.
"India's agreement to allow U.S. pork imports for the first time is great news for U.S. producers and for Indian consumers," Tai said in a statement.
Vilsack said Washington was working to ensure the U.S. pork industry could start shipping products to India as soon as possible. He said the deal marked the culmination of two decades of seeking market access for U.S. pork to India.
In 2020, the United States was the world’s third-largest pork producer and second-largest exporter, with global sales of pork and pork products valued at $7.7 billion. In fiscal year 2021, the United States exported more than $1.6 billion of agricultural products to India.
At a revived U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum in New Delhi last November, India and the United States agreed https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/india-us-aim-expand-farm-trade-resolve-market-access-issues-2021-11-23 to expand trade of some agricultural products, including U.S. cherries, alfalfa and distiller dried grains as well as Indian mangoes, grapes, shrimp and water buffalo meat.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Joe Biden in Washington in September and both leaders agreed to expand trade ties to strengthen relations between the world's largest and richest democracies.
India is still pressing for restoration of its beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences, the U.S. program that provides some tariff-free access for imports from developing countries that expired at the end of 2020.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Sandra Maler and Howard Goller)