EU Imposes Rice Tariffs

(Bloomberg) — The European Union will impose tariffs this week on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar for three years in response to a request by Italy for local producers to gain protection from the imports.

The EU will apply duties as of Jan. 18 on Indica rice from the two Asian countries, which had been exempted from levies through the bloc’s “GSP” program, giving poor nations around the world preferential market access.

The goal of the tariffs is to protect EU-based producers from a surge in imports. The duties will amount to 175 euros ($200) a metric ton in the first year, 150 euros a ton in the second year and 125 euros in the third.

“This surge in low-price imports has caused serious difficulties for EU rice producers,” the European Commission in Brussels said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The decision to impose the levies will be published in the EU’s Official Journal on Thursday and take effect the following day.

The European import levies against Cambodia and Myanmar are the outcome of an investigation that the commission, the EU’s executive arm, opened in March 2018 as a result of a request the previous month by the Italian government.

The probe was based on a “safeguards” provision in the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences allowing for the reintroduction of the bloc’s “Common Customs Tariff duties” for as long as three years.

The tariffs on rice are separate from EU threats to suspend GSP benefits for Cambodia and Myanmar as a result of alleged human-rights violations in the two countries.

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