At the meeting of the Tomato Group of the Market Observatory of the European Commission, held on June 24 by videoconference, FEPEX outlined the difficult situation that the Spanish tomato exporting sector is going through, with an interannual drop in shipments to the EU of 12% in the period between October 2019 and April 2020, with 518,520 tons. This is basically a result of strong competition from Morocco, which exported 432,274 tons of tomatoes in the same period. According to the Spanish federation, this situation requires the enforcement of effective entry prices.
FEPEX considers it necessary to modify how the flat-rate import value is calculated in order to ensure that imports from Morocco respect a minimum price, and find out whether or not customs duties have to be paid. This flat-rate import value includes the prices of round tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, so FEPEX proposed that only round tomato prices be considered, which were the only one considered for the purpose of setting the conventional entry price in the Association agreement between the EU and Morocco.
FEPEX also asks for the enforcement of the provisions of Article 4 of the Agreement between the EU and Morocco, which entered into force in the 2011/2012 campaign, and which establishes that concessions in the entry price and in ad valorem rights are intended to maintain the level of traditional Moroccan exports to the EU and avoid disturbances in the EU import market. There are three major exporters in this market: The Netherlands, with a stable trend, Morocco, with a strongly rising trend and Spain, with a downward trend.
In the 2019/2020 campaign, despite the lower volume shipped and the higher production costs due to COVID-19, prices have been lower than last season, according to the monitoring of the European Commission.
Since the entry into force of the Agreement in 2011 until 2019, tomato exports from Morocco to the EU have grown by 44%. In the same period, direct imports from Spain have also grown by 29%.