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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

EU rice sector struggles with the increase of rice imports

At the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013, the Italian delegation, supported by Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France and Portugal, underlined the difficult situation that the EU rice sector is facing in particular with the increase of EU imports of this product (17559/13).
Italy noted that in some EU regions, rice cultivation represents the most important agricultural activity of the area but, over the past few years, this sector has gradually been losing profitability and the rice cultivated surfaces are progressively reduced. This situation is made worse by the increase of EU imports of milled rice from least developed countries (LDCs) and from other countries with which the EU has bilateral agreements.
While taking note of the concerns of Italy and some member states, the Commission recalled that for some rice varieties, the EU is largely dependent from its imports. It noted also that in a first assessment no brutal imbalance has yet been observed in the rice market. However, the Commission said it was ready to initiate formal action on the basis of convergent data showing a risk of major crisis.

Source: Council of the European Union