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Imbalance between sales prices and production costs of durum wheat in Italy

Question écrite de M. Carlo FIDANZA - Commission européenne


Subject: Imbalance between sales prices and production costs of durum wheat in Italy

Unregulated imports and the resulting unfair competition from non-EU products continue to force down prices of Italian produce1, thus devaluing durum wheat produced according to European quality and food safety standards. This comes in stark contrast to spiralling production costs caused by economic speculation due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the resulting turmoil on the market for agricultural goods.

The recent protests by Italian farmers have come in response to continuing imports of durum wheat from Türkiye at prices bearing scant regard for those set by the Turkish Grain Board for the domestic market. Given that Turkish durum wheat has probably never been cheaper, there are suspicions that old stocks of Russian and Kazakh wheat are being sent to the EU, an act of unfair competition intended to drive down western prices.

In view of the existence of the customs union between the EU and Turkey, can the Commission say:

1. What strategies it intends to employ to verify the true origin of durum wheat imported into the Member States and check its compliance with EU rules?

2. Whether it intends to open anti-dumping investigations to ascertain whether the prices set by the Turkish Government are in breach of Article 32 of Decision No 1/95 of 22 December 19952?

Submitted: 2.10.2023

1 https://www.ismeamercati.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/1187

2 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=celex%3A21996D0213%2801%29

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 23 novembre 2023

Answer given by Mr Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission (24 November 2023)

Trade in agricultural products (including durum wheat) between the EU and Türkiye is governed by Decision No 1/98 of the EC-Turkey Association Council (3).

Protocols 1 and 2 set out the preferential regimes applied to the import of agricultural products originating in Türkiye and the EU, respectively.

Durum wheat is not covered in Annex 1 to Protocol 1 and can therefore be imported from Türkiye into the EU duty-free.

In order to safeguard its consumers, science-based EU rules on the food chain, including on food and feed safety, apply regardless of whether the products are produced within the EU or imported from abroad. Member States’ authorities are responsible for implementing those rules.

Where there is evidence for serious risks, the Commission may adopt temporary import control measures. However, currently there is no evidence that durum wheat from Türkiye would need to be subject to such measures.

Data from the International Grains Council show a large durum crop for Türkiye in 2023. Turkish exports to the EU were very strong at the start of the 2023/2024 campaign, partly because durum wheat prices are high compared to soft wheat in Italy and the EU in general.

Subsequently, domestic durum prices increased in Türkiye, making exports less competitive. To protect domestic supplies, the Turkish government is now considering stricter controls on durum exports.

Low prices are not necessarily dumped prices. To launch an anti-dumping investigation, the Commission requires sufficient evidence that imports into the EU are made at dumped prices and are causing injury to EU industry (4).

The Commission will continue monitoring closely developments on the EU market for durum wheat and take appropriate actions, if necessary.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://www.ismeamercati.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/1187

2 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=celex%3A21996D0213%2801%29

3 ∙ ⸱ OJ L86, 20.3.1998, p. 1.

4 ∙ ⸱ For further information on this issue, industry is encouraged to contact the services of the Directorate-General for Trade.







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