India has agreed to allow the import of American pork and pork products into the country after nearly two decades of work to remove the U.S. pork trade barrier, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday.
The agreement follows the U.S.–India Trade Policy Forum held in New Delhi in November 2021, during which Tai spoke with India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal about the importance of access to the Indian market for American pork products.
Both Tai and Goyal expressed their intent to expand trade of some agricultural products and to continue working together on “resolving outstanding trade issues as some of these require additional engagement in order to reach convergence in the near future,” according to a joint statement between the United States and India.
“This new opportunity marks the culmination of nearly two decades of work to gain market access for U.S. pork to India—and it signals positive movement in U.S.–India trade relations,” Vilsack said in a statement.
Washington is currently working with the Indian government to ensure that the U.S. pork industry can begin exporting products to India as soon as possible, Vilsack added.
India has previously banned the import of U.S. pork products due to the U.S. refusal to comply with its universal veterinary health certificate for importing pork into India, according to the United States Trade Representative’s 2021 national trade estimate report (pdf).
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has been calling on India to lift its de facto ban on U.S. pork and to accept the science-based veterinary export certificate proposed earlier by the U.S. Agriculture Department.
“After decades of work, a market that had been closed to the U.S. is being opened,” NPPC President Jen Sorenson said in a statement, applauding the U.S.-India pork trade agreement.
The United States is the world’s third-largest pork producer and second-largest exporter, with global sales of pork and pork products valued at $7.7 billion in 2020. The U.S. Agriculture Department said it exported more than $1.6 billion of agricultural products to India in fiscal year 2021.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in September last year, where both leaders agreed to uphold “democratic values” and to strengthen trade between the two countries.
“I think that the relationship between India and the United States—the largest democracies in the world—is destined to be stronger, closer, and tighter,” Biden said at the time.