UK hosts round-table over Indian mango ban
May 22 2014 , London
UK environment minister Lord de Mauley hosted a round-table meeting here with representatives of mango and vegetable importers and exporters from the UK and India, Deputy Indian High Commissioner to the UK Virendra Paul, and senior regulators from Defra and the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).
"The British government values the bilateral trade with India and is willing to support Indian regulators and the exporters and importers with technical assistance and collaborations with British regulators," said Lord de Mauley, parliamentary under-secretary of state for natural environment and science.
"The ability to overturn the ban is with the EU commission and such decision will be taken after the FVO (Food and Veterinary Office) visit to India in September 2014. The intention is to work with all the stakeholders to get the processes right so the ban sanctioned till December 2015 is lifted sooner," he said.
The meeting at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was also attended by the representatives from National Asian Business Association (NABA), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), Fresh Produce Consortium.
During the meeting, Defra agreed to facilitate discussions between the European Commission and Indian regulators about the changes required to enable the ban to be lifted.
It also agreed to provide training and technical advice to the Indian authorities and exporters in EU phytosanitary procedures and certification requirements, both in the short term, as they prepare for the FVO visit in September and in the longer term.
The Indian and UK industry representatives, led by Monica Bhandari of Fruity Fresh (Western) Limited, highlighted the sudden nature of the ban and the impact it has had on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and in India, from the growers and farmers, to exporters and importers and small high street retailers.
Bhandari said: "This meeting has been a positive step forward, with Lord de Mauley and his team agreeing to facilitate positive discussions and action on this issue.
"We hope that with the help of Fera and Defra and measures put in place by the Indian authorities, we will be able to achieve a successful FVO visit in September, minimal interceptions of goods coming into the EU and the common goal of the ban being lifted," Bhandari said.