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Indian mangoes for American motorcycles

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A consignment of mangoes, a file photo.
A consignment of mangoes, a file photo.

Indo-U.S. deal will bring in Harley Davidson machines

NEW DELHI: Mouthwatering mangoes for macho motorcycles. That sounds like a fair trade.

Indian mangoes will hit U.S. stores for the first time in 18 years, while Harley Davidson motorcycles will cruise India's roads, Indian and U.S. officials said on Friday.

"The good news is that our mangoes are going to America and Harley Davidson is coming here," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said at a meeting on Indo-U.S. trade ties in New Delhi.

The U.S. banned mango imports from India 18 years ago over concerns that Indian farmers used too much pesticide. Now the farmers will irradiate the fruit to kill any pests, making the mangoes fit for consumption in the eyes of U.S. agriculture officials.

Lifting the ban was first agreed on during U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to India last year. Final details were worked out at a meeting Friday of the bilateral trade forum, chaired by Mr. Kamal Nath and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab. "In a few short weeks, Indian mangoes will enter the U.S. market," Ms. Schwab said.

In return, the way is cleared for the Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson to enter the Indian market, one the world's largest for motorbikes. Their entry had been hampered by emissions standards and tariffs of more than 90 per cent. "We have received indications that the Indian Government will accept Euro 3 standards for heavy motorcycles, creating an opportunity for a niche in the market," Ms. Schwab said.

However, no agreement was reached on tariffs. "If tariffs were to come down, trade in this sector would steadily begin to flow," she said.

Ms. Schwab said bilateral trade in goods and services could hit $50 billion this year, on track to hit goals set during President Bush's visit of doubling trade in three years.

Mangoes for motorcycles was posited as an example of how increasing trade can benefit both countries. While India and the U.S. seek to eke out closer ties, trade ties have been hampered by further disagreements particularly at the World Trade Organisation, where each country has taken a leading role on opposite sides of the deadlocked talks. "The U.S. has for far too long deprived itself of the taste of the Indian mango," Mr. Kamal Nath said. AP

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