The European Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development has announced the suspension of cereal import duties will remain in force for the next marketing year - which will end on June 30, 2009 – unless market conditions justify their reintroduction before that date. The proposal, which was put to the Management Committee for cereals, is a reaction to the continuing tight situation on the cereals markets and the resulting high price levels. At the same time, there are no export refunds on cereal exports.
"In order to promote supply to the Community market in cereals during the 2007/08 marketing year, Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2008 of 20 December 2007 temporarily suspended customs duties on imports of most cereals for the 2007/2008 marketing year until 30 June 2008," says the EU. "It also allowed the Commission to reintroduce them in the event of disruption or threatened disruption on the Community market."
The outlook for the cereals market for the start of the next marketing year (2008/09) suggests that prices will remain high, given the low world stock levels, says the EU. "In order to make it easier to maintain a flow of imports which will help maintain market balance, there is a need to ensure continuity in cereal imports policy by maintaining the temporary suspension of customs duties on imports for the 2008/09 marketing year for cereals. Millet and buckwheat will be added to the list of products on which duties are suspended. Should the market situation change unexpectedly, the Commission could reintroduce import charges."