EU countries say India’s move to ban the sale of the banned polar bear products has failed
EU countries have condemned India’s decision to ban imports of polar bear pelts from the country, saying it was a “misguided attempt” to undermine the trade deal.
The European Union said on Thursday it was concerned that India was seeking to circumvent a ban on the sale and import of polar bears in its own territory and “the EU stands ready to defend its citizens from the risk of the export of polar skins”.
The European Parliament and the European Commission issued a joint statement urging the Indian government to reconsider its decision, saying the country was moving in the wrong direction.
“We call on the government to reverse its decision,” the statement read.
“The European Economic Area has long supported a peaceful trade relationship with India, with both countries working towards an agreement that is in the interest of both sides and that respects the rights of both polar bear species.”
India’s ban on imports of the polar skins, known as polaris, comes after it was declared illegal in September.
Polar bears are considered a protected species in India and are protected under a treaty signed in 2008 by then Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pelts, used to make traditional Indian cooking sauces, are often used as a component in traditional medicines and in food.
The ban on polar skins is one of a number of measures India is taking to block imports of goods and services from China, which is also one of the countries that signed the trade pact with India.
The United States and several European countries have criticised India for the polar bear ban, saying its decision to restrict imports from China undermines a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the Paris climate agreement.
China has said it supports a strong and prosperous China and that the polar bears are part of the country’s history and culture.
India said on Friday that it was committed to preserving the livelihoods of the indigenous polar bear population in the Indian Ocean.
“India is committed to protect the lives of polar animals and to support their conservation,” the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests said in a statement.
The Indian government has said the polar pelts, also known as jaguars, are a valuable component of traditional cooking.