The mechanism that regulates the duties on powdered milk imports is to be revised within the ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union. The quota arrangement now in place is a protocol that was subscribed by the DR and the EU 9 years ago.
Customs Director, Miguel Cocco, said that a variation in the import duty paid by European dairy products “would affect the ongoing negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. Nevertheless, he left open the possibility of finding a way to favor the poor is advances are not made towards the signing of the EPA with Europe, of if milk prices continue to increase. The quota arrangement now in place is a protocol that was subscribed by the DR and the EU 9 years ago.
DGA director Cocco said that the objective is that Dominican children can continue to drink milk, not that the local producers or the importers are doing good business. Cocco said that a reduction in the tariffs of dairy products from Europe could affect talks leading to the EPA with Europe. “The Europeans are not going to accept that we raise the prices to favor importers,” said Cocco, who rejects the possibility of reducing milk tariffs. Recent, the president of the Association of Canned Milk Importers, Bayardo Mejia proposed that the government reduce the 20% tariff on powdered milk from Europe as one of the contingency measures given the increase in the cost of the product worldwide following the elimination of subsidies to dairy producers in the EU and the dry season in Australia. Both factors have contributed to push prices from US$2,300 to US$5,000 per metric ton.
The next EPA round (9th), the last one before the summer break, will take place in Brussels this month from 23-27 July, preceded by the Technical Working Groups CARIFORUM meetings in Grenada 16-20 July.