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Risi Authority: to restore duties on rice from Myanmar

Especially today, with the position taken by the EU on the recent coup d'état

On Monday 22 February, the EU Foreign Affairs Council strongly condemned the military coup perpetrated in Myanmar / Burma on 1 February, also underlining that the European Union is ready to take restrictive measures against those responsible of the coup d'état and their economic interests which, however, do not have a negative impact on the people of Myanmar, in particular on people living in conditions of extreme vulnerability. The Council's position was taken up by the Commission at the Management Committee of the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets - Arable and Olive Oil - held on 25 February.

It is hoped, writes the National Risi Authority, that the European institutions will pass from words to deeds, providing for the withdrawal of the benefits enjoyed by Myanmar as a Less Advanced Country, which, so far, have allowed the import in the EU of Burmese Japonica rice without the payment of the duty, bearing in mind that these imports have increased dramatically in the last two years, going from around 31,500 tons in 2018 to around 158,700 tons in 2020.

Last year the European Commission withdrew the benefits that Cambodia enjoyed due to the violation of human rights, but rice was excluded from the measure because the safeguard clause on milled Indica rice was in force. In the case of Myanmar, on the other hand, rice must be covered because the EU almost exclusively imports Japonica-type rice which is not covered by the safeguard clause.

"The reintroduction of the duty on rice imported from Myanmar is a must", continues the note from the Authority, and the Commission must not be afraid to take this measure for fear of penalizing Burmese rice growers because, as verified in the drafting of the request for opening of the investigation for the application of the safeguard clause to the import of Indica milled rice from Cambodia and Myanmar itself, the only ones to benefit from the increase in traffic to the European Union are the Burmese exporters.

The president of the Ente Risi, Paolo Carrà stated in this regard: "I wanted to present the question to Minister Di Maio to try to define an urgent proposal which, together with the political measures to be adopted in contrasting the effects produced by the coup Myanmar, also contemplates the adoption of market measures to protect Italian and European rice growing, in the face of the increase in exports of Japonica rice from that country to the EU".

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EFA News - European Food Agency