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The temporary tariff had been imposed to reduce Cambodia’s share of the European market
PHNOM PENH--For three years, the European Union (EU) has levied tariffs on all the varieties of rice that Cambodia exported to the EU countries. This has amounted to Cambodia paying nearly $50 million in tariffs. But the tariff policy will expire on Jan. 20, 2022.
So this year, the Cambodian Rice Federation hopes to export roughly 200,000 tons of rice to the EU market, said Song Saran, president of the federation.
"The size of this export depends on shipping, as shipping is still a negative factor affecting our exports, which made it impossible for us to export in 2021,” he said.
The European Chamber of Commerce had decided to impose tariffs on Cambodian rice imports for three years, effective Jan. 20, 2019. The decision was taken following a study in March 2018 that had revealed that rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar to the European Union had increased by 89 percent in five years, causing, the study read, “economic damage to European producers.”
Over the past three years, Cambodia has paid nearly $50 million in rice export tariffs for the European Union, Saran said. “Most of the rice we export to the European markets is the kind of rice that we have to export, despite being tariffed.”
Before 2019, Cambodian rice accounted for more than 50 percent of the European rice market, Saran said. However, this has declined over the last three years to just over 20 percent of the market in 2021, he said.
In 2021, Cambodia exported more than 600,000 tons of rice worth about $500 million, with only 140,000 tons going to the European market.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon, Cambodia exported 617,069 tons of rice in 2021, which was a 10.68 percent drop compared to rice exports in 2020, with rice exports to the EU dropping 23.56 percent.
With the tariff increase imposed three years ago, the EU customs duty were roughly $200 per ton in 2019, $170 per ton the following year, and $141 per ton in 2021, Saran said.