Montana Senator Steve Daines and North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer wrote a letter to President Trump urging him fight for favorable pulse crop provisions during the ongoing trade negotiations with India. Montana and North Dakota are the number 1 and 2 producers of pulse crops in the United States and India is the world’s largest consumer.

The letter reads, “The most commonly consumed pulse crops in India are lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, and peas, yet the Republic of India has levied substantial tariffs on American pulse crops. Engaging Prime Minister Modi on pulse crop tariffs as part of larger discussions to enhance the economic cooperation between our countries would be mutually beneficial to American producers and Indian consumers.”

The Senators pointed out that unfair Indian tariffs on pulse crops have substantially harmed farmers in our region. Currently tariff rates are 30 percent for dried beans, 50 percent for peas and lentils and 70 percent for chickpeas.

The Senators concluded the letter by applauding the President for the recent trade successes and underscored the importance of building more market opportunities for U.S. pulse crop producers.

“At a time when many producers have been struggling to make ends meet, your work to expand market opportunities for U.S. farm commodities has been critical,” the Senators wrote. “We applaud your recent success in securing a Phase One Trade Agreement with China, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, and we are grateful for the fulfillment of your promise to negotiate a new North American trade deal with the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

“These successes will produce real results for Montanans and North Dakotans alike. We hope you can build on this progress in your negotiations with India.”

President Trump makes his first official visit to India, next week on February 24-25. People close to the negotiations say the Indian government is open to greater market access for American farm and dairy products. India is willing to allow market access for U.S. products like cranberries, blueberries, pecan nuts, and avocados at lower duty rates…but not mention of pulse crops in discussions yet. 

There aren’t a lot of details available as to when a new agreement might be ready. Negotiators are still working on the final details in an attempt to resolve some long-standing issues between the two countries.

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