An investigation has confirmed a significant increase of imports of Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar into the European Union that has caused economic damage to European producers. The European Commission has therefore decided today to re-introduce import duties that will be steadily reduced over a period of three years.
According to the Commission’s decision, to be published in tomorrow’s Official Journal, as of 18 January the European Union will reinstate the normal customs duty on this product of €175 per tonne in year one, progressively reducing it to €150 per tonne in year two, and €125 per tonne in year three.
During the investigation launched in March 2018, the Commission found that imports of Indica rice from both countries combined have increased by 89% in the past five rice-growing seasons. At the same time, the investigation found that the prices were substantially lower than those on the EU market and had actually decreased over the same period. This surge in low-price imports has caused serious difficulties for EU rice producers to the extent that their market share in the EU dropped substantially from 61% to 29%.
Cambodia and Myanmar are beneficiaries of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) trade scheme, which unilaterally grants duty-and quota-free access to the world’s least developed countries (apart from arms and ammunition). This is one pillar of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) tariff-reduction scheme for developing countries. Today’s action is being taken using the safeguards mechanism of the GSP Regulation.
The initial request for trade safeguards on rice imports was tabled by the Italian government in February 2018 and supported by all other EU rice growing Member States (Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria). The Commission opened a formal investigation on 16 March 2018. The measures will be in place for three years.
The decision will be published in the EU’s Official Journal on 17 January and will enter into force the following day.
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