On March 12, the National Association of Garlic Producers and Marketers (ANPCA), sent a letter to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development of the EU, Phil Hogan, and the Commissioner of Commerce of the EU, Cecilia Malmstrom, through its representatives in Brussels, FruitsVegetablesEurope (EUCOFEL). In it, they expressed their concern about the possible serious repercussions of Brazil's unilateral decision to raise the tariff to European garlic by 19% in retaliation to the safeguard measures adopted by the EU against Brazilian steel.
In this letter, the ANPCA says to be worried about this situation, given the importance of the Brazilian market for the European garlic sector; without forgetting the crop's role in keeping population in rural areas (within the framework of the European agrarian policy).
On February 18, the Brazilian government informed the World Trade Organization of its intention to raise entry tariffs to a total of 36 European products imported into its country. The introduction of these new tariffs was motivated by the EU's application of its safeguard measures against Brazilian steel. One of the products affected is European garlic, whose tariff will be raised by 19%. After the communication to the WTO, Brazil has 30 days to make these new tariffs effective.
The ANPCA was informed about this all on February 19, and at that time, it decided to send a letter to D.G Trade and D.G Agri through its representatives in Brussels, FruitsVegetablesEUROPE, asking for explanations for the situation. In its response, D.G. Trade reported that the decision of the Government of Brazil has been appealed to the WTO, as it is considered disproportionate and not in line with the rules of this institution. Apparently, the application of Brazil's measures relies on Art. 8.2 of the Safeguard Agreement, but this makes them illegal, as according to the rules, there needs to be a 3 year waiting period to prove the economic damage of the Commission's measures before the safeguard clause can be enforced.
Clara Eugenia Aguilera, MEP and vice-president of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, was also informed about this by the ANPCA. She showed her full support to the sector by raising a question to the European Commission about the situation created.
Over the last 3 years, European shipments to Brazil have accounted for about 12% of the EU's garlic exports, with an average export volume of more than 15 million kilos. Furthermore, it is a market of special interest for European garlic, as the start of exports coincides with the new harvest season. This helps prevent the new harvest from saturating the European domestic market, thereby bringing stability to prices in the new campaign. The loss of this market for European producers would cause serious damage to a sector that has already been severely affected in recent years by the overproduction crisis in China and the Russian veto. For this reason, the ANPCA has urged the European institutions to adopt any measures necessary to prevent the tariff from entering into force.
Luis Fernando Rubio
Tel: +34 638 10 39 10
Fax: +34 967 16 10 11