EU to bring back grain import duties
Import customs on cereals will return now that global proces have come back down
10 November 2008
Customs duties on cereals imports will be reintroduced as a reaction to the price decrease on the cereals market, Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, announced last month. The decision comes almost a year after the customs tax was suspended in response to record price levels and tight supply on EU and world markets.
The FOB (freight on board) price of common wheat, recorded in Community ports since the end of September, has gone clearly below 180% of the reference price, falling back from a peak of over €300 per tonne in September 2007 to around €160 this October. Given the interdependence of the markets for various cereals and the rapid impact of changes in the price of one cereal on other cereals, customs duties are being reintroduced simultaneously on all cereals, an EU report said.
The bloc hopes that raising the import duties to keep the price above around €155 a tonne will help ensure that European farmers can make a living without the EU having to buy up large amounts of surplus grain. This year’s European wheat harvest is up 20% on last year, to 300m tonnes.
The restoration of the grain duties would not have any “disruptive effect” on the EU market or “any significant impact on prices” according to the Commissioner. The department assures that the precautionary measure is being taken in order only to avoid undue risk, while intervention mechanism will be open from the 1 November onwards.