PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, The European Commission has imposed tariffs on rice imported from Cambodia and Myanmar, in a bid to curb a surge in rice imports from the two Southeast Asian countries.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the European Union (EU) said, a significant increase of imports of Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar into EU, caused economic damage to the EU producers.

“The European Commission has therefore decided, today, to re-introduce import duties that will be steadily reduced over a period of three years,” the statement said.

According to the commission’s decision, from Friday (tomorrow), the EU will reinstate the normal customs duty on this product of 175 euros (199 U.S. dollars) per tonne, in the first year, progressively reducing it to 150 euros (171 U.S. dollars) per tonne in the second year, and 125 euros (142 U.S. dollars) per tonne in the third.

During the investigation, launched in Mar, 2018, the commission found that, imports of Indica rice from both countries combined, have increased by 89 percent in the past five rice-growing seasons, the statement said.

At the same time, the investigation found that the prices of the imported rice were substantially lower than those on the EU market and had actually decreased over the same period, the statement said.

“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 percent to 29 percent,” the statement added.

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.

Cambodia exported a total amount of 626,225 tonnes of milled rice in 2018, with 42.9 percent of it going to the European markets, government figures showed.

Source: NAM News Network