EU Reinstates Import Tariffs on Rice from Cambodia and Myanmar
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The European Commission has reinstated duties on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar for three years after determining that imports were causing economic damage to European producers.
The tariffs, which came into effect on January 18, will apply a duty of €175 per tonne of Indica rice in the first year, reducing it to €150 per tonne in the second year and €125 per tonne in the third year.
“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 Commission said in a statement.
“The European Commission has therefore decided to re-introduce import duties that will be steadily reduced over a period of three years,” it added.
In a probe launched last March, the European Union’s executive arm found that Indica rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar have increased by 89 per cent in the past five seasons.
The Commission said it also found that “the prices were substantially lower than those on the EU market” and dropped over the same period. It added the surge in cheaper imports had caused European producers to see their market share in the 28-member bloc plummet from 61 per cent to 29 per cent.
Italy, which is responsible for half of the EU’s rice production, had asked for protection in February, receiving support from all of the bloc’s other EU rice producers in Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
In a first reaction, Cambodia and Myanmar criticized the European Commission for resuming the tariffs.
Cambodia’s ministry of commerce said the move was based on inaccurate information and would hurt farmers in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries.
It is a “weapon to kill them and their families who are in debt,” the ministry said, noting that nearly half of Cambodia’s 625,000 tonnes of exported rice went to EU markets last year.
Myanmar’s Rice Federation also slammed the move, saying its rice exports to the EU amounted to around $100 million annually.
“We request the EU to keep helping us,” a federation spokesperson said, adding that “our country has many difficulties to overcome.”