By Nyein Nyein
In spite of the European Union imposing a tax on imports of long-grain rice, Myanmar’s rice exports to the EU have not declined as traders are shipping rice varieties that don’t fall in the new tax bracket, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).
“The EU is still importing rice from Myanmar. We have continued to export the same volume of rice because Myanmar is shipping rice of different categories. We are not exporting those rice varieties which attract a tax in the EU,” said U Aung Than Oo, the vice chairman of the MRF.
Myanmar ships about 400,000 tons of rice and broken rice to the EU annually. Long-grain rice accounts for only about 40,000 tons of the total exports.
The MRF has been conducting training courses for local farmers to encourage them to grow more rice varieties that are purchased by the EU in the next paddy season, he added.
EU member countries recently decided to levy a tax on long-grain rice imported from Myanmar and Cambodia. According to the EU, a tax of Euro 175 per ton will be imposed on imports of long-grain rice in the first year, Euro 150 in the second year, and Euro 125 in the third year. The new tax took effect from 18 January.
“We are still exporting rice, except the long-grain variety which is being taxed by the EU. And, EU’s move to tax some categories will not imply a stoppage of rice imports. In case we face difficulties exporting rice to the EU, we still have a solution for that,” said U Ye Min Aung, the chairman of the MRF.
“To make up for the loss in demand, Myanmar is seeking ways to penetrate new rice markets,” said U Aung Soe, Director-General, Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.
The EU reinstated Myanmar in the Generalized Scheme of Preference (GSP) in June, 2013. Now, after a period of six years, the EU has again decided to tax shipments of long-grain rice from Myanmar. (Translated by Hay Mar)