Import duties will be temporarily suspended on entry into the EU of certain cereal imports to alleviate supply problems due to low supply and increase in prices on global markets. Until 30 June 2008, the European Commission will be able to re-establish the duties in question, under certain conditions, if for one or several of these products the FOB (free on board) price stated at Community ports is lower than 180% of the intervention price or, if the price does not exist for the product concerned, at 180% of 101.3/tonne. The decision was made by the Council on 20 December.

Although the current levels of border protection for cereals are rather low, import duties are still applied for certain types of grains that are important for the balance of the EU market. Import duties are suspended on all cereals except oats, buckwheat and millet for the current marketing year, which will end on 30 June 2008. The original proposal was made by the Commission in November.

The Commission specifies that in July, at the start of the 2007-2008 marketing year, total stocks (private+intervention) were 13.2 million tonnes below levels at the same time the previous year. In 2007, unfavourable weather conditions reduced the harvest; the overall EU production is estimated at 256 million tonnes, a fall of ten million tonnes or 3.5% on the already modest 2006-2007 harvest.


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