India slaps tariff on Aussie chickpeas

The Indian government has slapped a 60 per cent tariff on Australian chickpeas. (AAP)

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has asked the Indian government for an explanation over its new 60 per cent tariff on Australian chickpeas.

Australia is shocked by the Indian government's decision to slap a 60 per cent tariff on chickpea imports.

The move comes while Australia is negotiating a free-trade agreement with India.

"We're obviously disappointed with the Indians' decision," Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

"I've written to the minister in India asking them for some explanation."

It is the second time since late last year the tariff has been raised, with chickpeas attracting a 30 per cent toll in December and 40 per cent in February.

Mr Littleproud said access to other markets like Nepal, Iran and the UAE had lessened the blow on farmers.

"The important thing to understand now is there are no boats on the water with chickpeas on them," he said.

"Our producers haven't been as impacted as badly as they could have."

India has historically been a strong market for Australian crops, with chickpea export values hitting $1.14 billion in the last financial year.

Mr Littleproud, who visited India for talks on the tariffs in early January, said he was confident Trade Minister Ciobo could get a deal done with India.

"We're continuing to work towards a free trade agreement - that's the gold standard," Mr Littleproud said.

Recent biosecurity breaches - including fruit fly in Tasmania - won't close off other export markets, Mr Littleproud said.

"The main thing is governments act swiftly and smartly and we've done that with fruit fly," he said.

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