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Export of super basmati: EC extends duty exemption
Daily Times, Jan 25, 2004
ISLAMABAD: The European Commission (EC) has given a three-month relief period to Pakistani basmati rice exporters who would enjoy 250 Euro per tonne exemption on the export of super basmati rice to the European countries, a senior rice exporter said here Saturday.

Syed Najaf Hussain Shah, chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), told Daily Times that the EC has given the interim relief after listening to Pakistani super basmati exporters.

He said the EC has told exporters that their authenticity certificates, which were to expire by December 31, would now be valid till March 31.

European Union’s concerned authorities issue authenticity certificates to Pakistani exporters prior to shipping the consignments to the EU. Mr Shah said a consignment takes 90 days to reach the EU market, so rice export under the old arrangement would continue till June 30.

“During the three month interim relief, the EU would continue to extend the 250 euro per tonne duty exemption on import brown rice,” Mr Shah said.

On December 23, the EC notified the exclusion of Pakistani super basmati from the abetment list withdrawing the 250-euro exemption on the product. It withdrew the exemption, saying that the said rice variety is not a “pure line variety.”

Mr Shah said earlier the EU used to levy 264-euro duty on the import of Pakistani super basmati, out of which EU used to give 250-euro exemption and added that local exporters had to pay a total of 14 euro as duty.

After the end of interim relief of three months, Mr Shah said REAP would again take up the issue and would convince the EC to keep the super basmati rice in the abetment list up to September 1 as by that time the EC would introduce the equal treatment for rice exporters to EU from any part of the world.

Pakistan’s total export of rice is $555 million out of which $360 million is basmati. Pakistan exports basmati rice worth $53 million to the EU and out of this quantity 80 percent is super basmati.

Earlier, Pakistan had lodged its strong protest with ambassador of European Union in Islamabad over the withdrawal of 250-euro duty exemption by EC on the import of super basmati saying the decision is extremely unjustified and country would sustain the loss of $45 million.

APP adds: Sheikh Arshad Mahmud, vice chairman REAP told APP that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has intimated to REAP that Cereals Management Committee of EU in its meeting held on January 22 has made a temporary amendment to the regulation 2294/03 of December 2003.
The amendment envisaged that variety of super basmati from Pakistan to benefit from full euro 250 per tons duty abatement from January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004, provided that sales contracts were signed prior to December 31, 2003 and that “certificate of authority” are issued by the authorities in Pakistan by June 30, 2004.

Mr Mehmud said this decision would allow Pakistani exporters to ship 93,000 tonnes of super basmati brown rice to the EU. He said another milestone has been achieved by the rice industry as the EU has included Pakistani basmati rice in the true line basmati family.
MGR Archive 26.1.2004
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