Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CRF voices concern over EU rice tax on Cambodia

CRF voices concern over EU rice tax on Cambodia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Capital Food in Cambodia deputy director Chray Son says the average farmer will be severely impacted by a safeguard clause. Hong Menea

CRF voices concern over EU rice tax on Cambodia

The president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) has expressed concern over an impending EU tariff on Cambodian rice imports, saying that it is factors within EU states that are harming European farmers most.

“Difficulties faced by European farmers are largely due to the lack of collaboration between them, millers and traders,” CRF president Sok Puthyvuth told the press on Friday.

He said the “high cost of milling in [EU]member states” was the main obstacle to improving European rice industries, not imports of Cambodian rice.

Sok Puthyvuth’s comments come following a November 5 announcement from the European Commission, an arm of the EU, that exporters of Cambodian and Burmese Indica white rice will face increased taxes within three years.

The customs tariff duty will be €175 (US$198) per tonne in the first year, €150 in the second year, and €125 the year after.

The tariffs are the result of an EU investigation launched in March after Italian farmers called for a safeguard clause restricting rice imports.

They argued that such imports were harming EU farmers. Italian rice farmers first complained about rice imports in 2014, but March’s investigation was the first time the European Commission launched a formal probe.

Scepticism

However, the CRF is sceptical that safeguard measures will improve the livelihoods of EU farmers, as much of Cambodian rice is not directly competing with their produce. As much as 55 per cent of Cambodian rice currently imported into the bloc is fragrant rice – a variety difficult to grow in the EU.

The impact of tariffs on the Kingdom’s more than three million rice farmers is of major concern, with the deputy director of Capital Food in Cambodia, Chray Son, saying the average farmer will be most severely impacted by a safeguard clause.

“Our cost of production is high, so if we pay Tax to the EU, how can we compete in the market? The farmers will suffer first . . . it’s just an excuse from EU, our rice is a small share in the market – how can we hurt their rice market?”

Centre for Policy Studies director Chan Sophal believes that tariffs will likely mean Cambodian farmers will increasingly look to other Asean nations to sell their products.

“If the tariff is implemented it will impact the Cambodian rice industry, and farmers will rely more on the market from Thailand and Vietnam as a result.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the

  • EU companies voice concern over impact of possible EBA withdrawal

    European companies operating in Cambodia voiced concern over the potential repercussions of removing the Kingdom’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential scheme, as the EU Ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, led an EU-organised media trip this week. Speaking in Siem Reap province as part of