India Crop Protection: Court Decision Impacting Supply Chains

31 October, 2018

An update on the Policy Guidelines granting reregistrations for imports of ready-made pesticide formulations without registering Technical Grade material in India.

On October 17th, 2018, the Gujarat High Court’s upheld the new Policy Guidelines approved by the Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB&RC) to give equal opportunities to Indian manufacturers and dismissing the arguments of importers. This decision withdrew three years' protection to importers by barring local manufacturers from registering their products.

The Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) filed cases in Gujarat High Court, back in 2011, against the Guideline on “Imports of ready-made Pesticide Formulations without registering its Technical Grade material”. The decision of the Gujarat High Court this month (Oct. 2018) will likely boost the Indian pesticide manufacturers and support the government policy ‘Make in India’.

The importers' counsel has questioned the policy of granting a level-playing field to local manufacturers on the basis of the product/ molecule data generated by foreign companies, which launched their products in India. However, the CIB&RC (Registrar) claimed that the foreign players did not have the right to challenge the government's decision.

Moreover, foreign companies and importers had noted that an exclusion of the mandatory five-batch test could raise safety concerns. They argued that the toxicity of a technical material and its impact on humans and animals are required to be tested. The CIB&RC disputed such arguments by contending that merely because the five-batch test is not adopted, it cannot be said that there is a dilution of standards regarding the products’ biological efficacy and safety to humans and animals. The assistant solicitor general said that the high court's decision has come as a great relief for Indian farmers because local manufacturers can register and produce pesticides supported by data made available by foreign companies.

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