Indian mangoes receive a warm reception at India House in Washington

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Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Sandhu addressing guests on May 19, 2022 at India House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington DC: As mangoes, the king of fruits, are savored for their sweetness and health benefits, and mango leaves are adorned in houses for their auspiciousness, the resumption of exports of Indian mangoes to the United States clearly signals the continuation of a healthy trade partnership between India and the US.

At a reception held to celebrate mangoes, on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at India House, residence of Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the four famous varieties of Indian mangoes including Banginapalle from Andhra Pradesh, Kesar from Gujarat, Alphonso from Maharashtra, and Himayat from Telangana received a warm reception. In addition to tasting fresh cut mangoes, guests also had the opportunity to relish mango delights such as mango panna, mango pappad, mango salsa, and mango flavored appetizers. Mangoes were also sculpted into different shapes for display.

Assistant USTR Chris Wilson addressing guests on May 19, 2022 at India House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

“Even though there are 200 varieties of mangoes across India, we could get only four of them today,” Sandhu said at the gathering, adding “Mangoes are a symbol of friendship. We celebrate this evening, strong bonds of friendship between India and the United States. This is a reflection of the strength, robustness and maturity in our partnership — a reflection of close ties between the oldest and largest democracies. We celebrate today the hard work put in by both sides to further strengthen economic and commercial partnership as well as people to people linkages.”

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He informed the gathering that the 12th India–US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) held on November 23, 2021, agreed to resolve decades old market access issues, and these mangoes are a product of that agreement. He recalled that President Biden, during his visit to India as Vice President in 2013, wanted the US – India bilateral trade to reach $500 billion. “Last year, we did hit a historic high of more than $160 billion bilateral trade, and that is despite COVID.”

Mango delights for guests on May 19, 2022 at India House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Sandhu noted India has been growing mangoes for over 5000 years, and that 40 per cent of world’s total production of mangoes are from India. Since mango leaves symbolize prosperity and good fortune, he said he hoped India-US relations will move to greater heights in the future.

A press statement issued by the Indian Ministry of Commerce & Industry in January 2022, stated that the export value of Indian mangoes to the US in 2022, is expected to surpass the figures of 2019-20 and prior years. India exported 800 Metric Tonnes (MT) of mangoes to the US in 2017-18 at an export value of $2.75 Million. In 2018-19, 951 MT mangoes were exported to the US at a total value of $3.63 Million, and 1,095 MT of mangoes were exported in 2019-20 to the US at a total value of $4.35 Million.

Since 2020, the US has restricted the import of Indian mangoes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors were unable to travel to India, due to COVID travel restrictions, to inspect irradiation facilities. At the India-US TPF held on November 23, 2021, in New Delhi, the India’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and USDA signed an agreement to .implement the 2 vs 2 Agri market access issues. Under the agreement, both India and the US would follow joint irradiation protocols for India’s mango and pomegranate export to the U.S., and export of cherries and alfalfa hay from the U.S.

Mangoes being cut into different shapes on May 19, 2022 at India House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

At the reception, Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Chris Wilson, said, there is significant movement in the trade relationship between the US and India. Both countries are making a tremendous progress since the TPF held late last year and working groups under the TPF can carry that momentum forward through their active work. “We are looking forward to holding another meeting at the level of our Trade Ministers Ambassador Katherine Tai and Minister Piyush Goyal towards the end of this year,” he added.

Sandhu recognized members of the United States Trade Representative, USDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the US Department of Commerce during the event, where Congressman Jerry McNerney, members of US administration, diplomatic corps, diaspora, think tanks, culture, industry, media, and students were also present.

 

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