Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Colombian government’s Committee on Commercial Practices in Bogotá has recommended the imposition of anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products sourced from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

As such, an ad valorem tax is to be applied to French fries and other value added potato items imported at prices that are lower in the Colombia than prices in the country of origin.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrés Valencia Pinzón, commented: "This is a historic decision, and as a result, 74% of imports of frozen potatoes that entered the country at anti-dumping prices must now enter at prices that do not affect the production of the national agro-industry."

According to Laura Valdivieso Jiménez, the deputy minister of foreign trade, the decision is the result of meticulous research that took into account different market variables (internal and external) and possible damage to this domestic sector in Colombia.

As a reaction, Belgium urged Europe to help it fight a tariff imposed on its iconic export by Colombia.

The potato was first farmed in the AndesMountains of South America, but once it is chipped and fried Belgium claims it as it own -- and exports it home, according to AFP.

Despite being widely dubbed "French", fries are a prized product in Belgium and its frites culture was added to the UNESCO cultural treasures list last year.

Belgian firms deny the accusation of dumping cheap fries, and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders says he will ask the European Commission to bring the issue to the World Trade Organization.

"I have had many meetings with our Colombian friends ... but until now without any real effect. We are going to ask the commission to do the job and to go to the WTO and start consultations," Reynders said as he arrived at an EU trade council.

Belgium's potato processing sector has grown in recent years, jumping from 500,000 tones in 1990 to 4.6m tons last year, according to Belgapom, the country's potato producer association. 

Related articles: 

New China Tariffs Impact Potato Trade – Industry Reacts 

Maine Potato Board Watching US, China Tariff Action 

Frozen French Fries on the Rise in China, as Production and Consumption

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