India - GM imports to be labelled (10/4/2006)

India's new Foreign Trade Policy announced last week has called for labeling of GM food.

See also: GM imports should be declared
The Hindu, 8 April 2006

India's new import norms seen hitting soyoil imports Zee News, 8 April 2006 http://www.zeenews.com/znnew/articles.asp?aid=287103&ssid=50&sid=BUS


GMO imports labelling on cards
Financial Express, April 8 2006

The changes made in the foreign trade policy has endorsed the exercise being undertaken by the Union health ministry for mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM) materials.

Speaking on this issue, commerce minister Kamal Nath said, "Clear guidelines for the import of GM materials are laid down. While making such imports, products which have been subjected to genetic modification will carry a declaration stating the product is genetically modified. If a consignment does not carry such a declaration and is later found to contain GM material, the importer is liable for action under Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992."

The minister's statement suggests the need for setting up of adequate testing facilities for presence of GM traces at points of entry, which the country lacks at the moment. He is, however, not clear whether labelled GM products which are not yet approved in the country would be allowed entry or not. The proposed guidelines are yet to decide on mandatory blanket labelling or labeling against certain threshold limit.

The changes in the policy has proposed a duty-free scrip at the rate of 5% of FoB value of exports of products of village and cottage industry products under the renamed and expanded Vishesh Krishi Aur Gram Udyog Yojana. The commerce minister said this policy will help generate rural employment.

With a view to helping the farmers, use of domestic farm produce in agricultural exports, will get an additional benefit under the scheme at the rate of 1.5% of FoB value of exports, while those who use imported farm inputs will get benefits at a reduced rate of 3.5%.

The list of specialised inputs used in the marine sector has been expanded to include additional items of chemicals and other additives within the present duty-free entitlement of 1%.

The focus on product scheme duty credit facility of 2.5% of the FoB value of exports to 50% of the export turnover of notified products like value-added fish, leather and handloom products.

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