Seeking greater market access for its agriculture products, India on Wednesday asked Russia to lift the temporary suspension on importing rice from the country.

The issue came up for discussion during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexey Valentinovich Ulyukaev on the sidelines of the ASEAN Ministerial meeting in Brunei.

Mr. Sharma sought resolution over sanitary and phytosanitary (dealing with basic rules for food safety and animal and plant health standards) measures concerning standards of Indian agriculture exports to Russia.

“Sharma particularly raised the issue of temporary suspension of Indian rice export to Russia and sought market access for Indian bovine meat,” an official statement said, adding, “Sharma asked Ulyukaev to review the rice export suspension“.

As per reports, India’s rice export to Russia increased five times to $25 million in April-December 2012, compared to $4.5 million in the same period of the previous fiscal, before breaks were applied by the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) on the imports in February.

It placed a temporary ban on import of rice from India following detection of Khapra Beetles in the consignments.

Overall economic cooperation

Mr.Sharma also asked the Russian minister to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Pharmaceuticals which was signed in 2010, saying that the quality and cost-effective Indian generic medicines will greatly benefit Russia.

He also requested Russia for early realisation of the proposed trilateral Customs Union involving Russia, India and Kazakhstan.

Both the ministers emphasised on the need to increase economic cooperation to achieve the bilateral trade target of $20 billion by 2015.

In 2012-13, the two-way commerce between the countries stood at $6.52 billion.

The Russian Minister, meanwhile, raised the issue of protection of Russian investment in India and asked for early conclusion of the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA).

India-Japan economic ties

The statement said that Mr. Sharma also held bilateral meeting with Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi.

Mr. Motegi is coming to India on September 11 with a high level business delegation to enhance bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

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