US producers and exporters of frozen duck, frozen turkey and a variety of blueberries and cranberries are celebrating the opportunity for greater penetration into the Indian market following an announcement by the US Trade Representative’s office of India’s offer of duty cuts on these items as part of settlement of a WTO dispute on poultry.

While there is no official word yet from the Indian government on the decision, sources following the matter say that New Delhi may lower import duties on frozen duck and frozen turkey to about 5 per cent from the existing 30 per cent, while import duties on fresh, frozen and dried cranberries and blueberries, at present roughly in the range of  30-45 per cent, would also be considerably reduced.

“The National Turkey Federation applauds the efforts by the US and Indian governments to significantly reduce the tariffs. This move creates an important new market for US turkey producers and will give Indians more affordable access to a nutritious, delicious protein,” per the National Turkey Federation which was quoted in a USTR statement.

While there have been no cuts announced for poultry, where import duties stay at 100 per cent for cut pieces, the US Poultry and Egg Export Council is satisfied about the duty cuts for turkey and duck. “This is a significant, positive action. We very much appreciate our government’s ongoing efforts to increase access for US poultry and egg products in India. The lowering of tariffs on turkey meat and for some duck exports is a great success,” it said.

Duty cut announcement for blueberries, the market for which is growing in India, has also brought expected cheer amidst the American producers. “We applaud the Biden Administration for their work to strengthen the US trade relations with India. India is a key market for US blueberry producers, and we welcome the opportunity to bring more blueberries to Indian consumers,” said Kasey Cronquist, President of the North American Blueberry Council.

Last month, the US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, met Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, following the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ meeting and decided to expedite resolution of the WTO dispute on poultry.

The US filed the poultry case against India in the WTO way back in 2012 for removal of import ban imposed by the country on the US poultry, on account of bird flu.

India lost the case at the WTO, at the panel level, in 2014 and also subsequently at the appellate level.

While India then lifted the ban, the US was not satisfied with the mechanism involved for poultry shipments and also the steep import duties and hence did not withdraw the case at the WTO.

“Resolving this last outstanding WTO dispute represents an important milestone in the US-India trade relationship, while reducing tariffs on certain US products enhances crucial market access for American agricultural producers,” Tai said last week.