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EU and US agree on new EU rice import regime

EU and US agree on new EU rice import regime

The EU and the United States have agreed on a new regime for imports of husked rice into the Community. The agreement establishes a mechanism to calculate applied duties on husked rice. The applied duty may be adjusted every six months based on a comparison between actual imports and a reference import level. In practice, the applied duty can be 65€/t., 42,5€/t. or 30€/t. depending on the operation of the mechanism. In July last year, the EU decided to adopt a bound duty for husked rice of 65€/t. and for milled rice of 175€/t. These bound duties will be notified to the WTO. The agreement between the EU and the US constitutes a positive pragmatic solution balancing the interests of Community producers with the need to supply the EU market and avoids a potential trade dispute, by preserving in the WTO certain rights of all parties concerned.

"I am very pleased that our negotiating teams have managed through this agreement to find a solution to a complex issue to our mutual satisfaction", said Mariann Fischer Boel, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. "This agreement will enable us to preserve balance in our rice market, whilst keeping our markets largely open to rice imports from all countries".

Background

In order to adapt its rice import regime to the CAP reform, the EC had notified to the WTO its intention to modify its system of import duties for rice under the WTO on 15 July 2003, based on Article XXVIII of the GATT.

Article XXVIII of the GATT enables WTO members to modify concessions contained in their schedules of commitments. The EC conducted negotiations with WTO members having negotiating rights.

Two agreements were successfully concluded under Article XXVIII with India and Pakistan in July 2004.

The EC has continued negotiations to try to reach agreements with the United States and Thailand.

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