Cheap Chinese apples threaten Kashmir fruit
China's new zero-import duty policy really threatens Kashmir's famed apples. The Chinese proposal of a free-trade pact could be the beginning of the end for the 70 billion rupees (920 mln euros) Indian fruit industry.

“If cheap Chinese apples further flood our markets, it will devastate our fruit sector," said Bashir Ahmad Basheer, president of the New Kashmir Fruit Association.

The 19th and 20th rounds of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership meetings were held last year, and the trade pact is likely to be finalized this year. 

"Around 400,000 people are associated with the fruit industry. Imports -be they from China or America- have to have higher duties so that local cultivation is not discouraged," said Mohommad Yousuf Dar, deputy director of Kashmir's Horticulture department.

A dnaindia.com article reports how horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir economy. More than 338,000 hectares of land is under the fruit cultivation, of which 65 per cent comprise apple orchards. The state's apple production -one of the highest in the country- touched 1,7 million metric tonnes last year.

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