Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rice lobby, EU discuss Italian trade complaint

A woman uses a bucket to collect harvested rice at a paddy in Battambang earlier this year
A woman uses a bucket to collect harvested rice at a paddy in Battambang earlier this year. Yesterday the EU met with the Cambodia Rice Rederation to voice its concerns over the price of exported rice from the Kingdom. Heng Chivoan

Rice lobby, EU discuss Italian trade complaint

A visiting delegation from the European Union met with the Cambodia Rice Federation yesterday to discuss concerns raised by Italian rice producers, who say duty-free Cambodian rice imports are undercutting the Italian market.

Sok Puthyvuth, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said yesterday that the purpose of the meeting was for the delegation to have a greater understanding of Cambodia’s rice industry, to better inform their discussions with Italian producers.

“We clarified that Cambodian rice exports to Europe are largely only fragrant rice, so it does not affect the [Italian] farmers,” he said, Puthyvuth said that Italian rice farmers produce largely a white rice variety that did not compete with Cambodia’s fragrant rice.

“The European delegation appears to understand our actual situation, and they should continue to support us on trade facilitation for further growth,” he said.

In the past, Italy has petitioned the EU to remove Cambodian rice from the Everything But Arms scheme, which grants duty-free access to the EU, citing increasing competition from the Kingdom.

The Italians said an increased rice import quota from Cambodia had contributed to Italian prices dipping below their production costs.

Leaked excerpts from a dossier from the Italian rice industry claimed that the special status granted to Cambodia had triggered a 22 per cent decline in annual rice plantings in Italy. An Italian collective of rice farmers conducted protests last year in the country’s largest rice-growing regions.

According to the rice industry website Oryza, the Italians had requested the EU to include a new clause that would end the EU’s zero-tariff rice imports from Cambodia.

According to a release yesterday from the CRF, Cambodia is now the second largest rice exporter to countries in the EU.

Cambodia shipped close to 400,000 tonnes of rice last year, and thanks largely to the EBA, 66 per cent went to the EU.

Song Saran, president of rice exporter Amru Rice Cambodia, said yesterday that, to date, the EBA had made a significant contribution to Cambodia’s rice industry, but there was still much more to be achieved under the favourable export status.

“The EBA is important, but it has not helped Cambodian farmers reach the decent living conditions yet, as compared farmers in Europe,” he said. “So, the EBA is still necessary for Cambodia, because we still need access to the European community market,” he said.

Cambodian rice producers were battling to compete with their neighbouring countries, and had made little impact on the competitiveness of EU farmers, Saran added.

A request for comment from the EU had not been returned by press time yesterday.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Bodies of Cambodian peacekeepers returned to Kingdom

The bodies of four Cambodian peacekeepers killed by a Christian militia in Central African Republic were repatriated to the Kingdom and honoured in an airport ceremony on May 21.

Phnom Penh eats: Ptas Nak Battambang

As the name suggests, Ptsa Nak Battambang – which in English means Battambang's house – is the right place for those who want to try some of the province's typical dishes in Phnom Penh.

Opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at a CNRP campaign rally today in Kratie province. Facebook

Opposition president Kem Sokha assured voters that all military members would maintain their rank should the CNRP take power in the 2018 national e

Political analyst Kim Sok who is seen being escorted into a police van after his bail was denied in March at the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, announced that he will go on hunger strike in Prey Say prison from today until the June 4 commune elections.

Imprisoned political analyst and social commentator