NEW DELHI: India has tightened the inspection norms for rice exports to the European Union.

The commerce and industry ministry on Thursday amended the export policy for Basmati and non-Basmati rice from ‘free’ to outbound shipments subject to certificates issued by Export Inspection Council (EIC).

“Export to EU member states and European countries namely Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland permitted subject to issuance of certificate of inspection by EIC/Export Inspection Agency,” the ministry said in a notification.

India’s rice export to Europe plunged around 40% in 2018-19 over the issue of maximum residue level (MRL) is pesticides and the market is likely to shrink further this year as rice samples has failed the mandatory testing.

“There have been pesticide issues with rice exports. So, these additional checks have been put in place,” said an official in the know of the details.

European Commission reduced maximum residues level for Tricyclazole to 0.01 parts per million (ppm) from 1 ppm for all crops in 2018. After 2018, the export of basmati from India to EU declined 38.35% and 9% in 2018-19 and 2019-20 (April-September) respectively, primarily due to the pesticide residue issue.

As per the notification, the certificate of inspection by export inspection agencies will be mandatory for exports to remaining European countries with effect from

July 1, 2020.

However, the official said that exporters are resisting the move as the additional checks would increase costs and add to documentation.

EIC is the official export certification body of India which ensures quality and safety of products exported from India.

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