Ukrainian Grain Association

EU reintroduces maize import tariff with 5.16 euros/tonne levy


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PARIS, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The European Union has introduced an import tariff on maize for the first time in nearly three years in view of low prices linked to swelling global supplies of the cereal used in livestock feed, the EU's executive said.

The EU will apply from Tuesday a levy of 5.16 euros ($6.10) per tonne on imported maize as well as rye and sorghum, the European Commission said.

The move had been expected by traders after a rally in the euro had amplified recent weakness in U.S. prices used by the EU to determine whether a tariff is needed.

"This will ensure that European producers are not put at a disadvantage in the current market conditions," the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It comes in response to the situation on the maize world market where a record global maize harvest is expected in 2016/17, resulting in ample supply and low prices."

The EU is a major maize (corn) producer but relies on imports to cover demand.

Ukraine has been the EU's main supplier of maize in recent years. The bloc also imports maize from other eastern European countries and from North and South America.

The EU had applied a zero tariff for maize since November 2014.

The decision to reintroduce a tariff, also published in the EU's official journal, was triggered by a decline in import prices to below a threshold applied by the EU.

The EU rules call for a tariff to be introduced if import prices, based on U.S. export prices plus ocean freight, fall below a floor of 157 euros a tonne for at least 10 days.

The tariff covers the difference between the import price and the EU floor level and can be adjusted as import prices fluctuate.

The Commission last month reduced sharply its outlook for this year's maize harvest in the EU and projected record imports of more than 15 million tonnes.

The return of tariffs for maize imports will not affect annual duty-free quotas run by the EU, allowing 450,000 tonnes of Ukrainian maize imports and nearly 280,000 tonnes of any-origin maize.

($1 = 0.8465 euros) (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dale Hudson)


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