Spain: Garlic sector warns against changes in import policies

The Association of the National Bureau of Garlic of Spain and the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Garlic, which together represent the entire Spanish production and trade sector, as well as 60% of the European garlic sector, have sent a joint letter to the European Union officials who are debating the amendment and "simplification" of the EU policies on the import of agricultural products.

A simplification of these controls would encourage irregular practices, harm the Community budget and cause the entry of greater import volumes, which would lead to imbalances in the EU's garlic market, which is very sensitive to any increases in supply.

Furthermore, according to both organizations, if the current system of B licenses for garlic is eliminated, "we could see an increase in fraud, as frequently confirmed by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), which has shown that importers in several EU countries were introducing fresh or refrigerated garlic through other tariff headings, resulting in a substantial amount of tax evasion and considerable damage to European industry professionals."

According to both associations, a modification such as that proposed by the European Commission would require a more detailed impact analysis, and should not be presented as a mere exercise of administrative simplification, since its impact, as reported by both organizations, would be very damaging for European producers and marketers of garlic, and very specifically for the Spanish sector, which accounts for 60% of the EU's production.

Therefore, the National Bureau of garlic and the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Garlic have asked the EU not to undermine the current control and inspection services for garlic imported to the EU market and for the B certificates not to be suppressed.

Source: Coop. Castilla-La Mancha

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