Commission statement on tomato import rules
Operation of the Entry Price System for certain fruits & vegetables, including tomatoes.
Further to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CMO legislation) changes have been made to the manner in which customs valuation is implemented. These changes which will come into operation on October 1st 2014 are extremely welcome, as they should ensure that henceforth customs valuation for fruit, vegetables and grape must products covered by the entry price regime is more transparent and robust.This is an important response to concerns expressed within the EU by some fruit and vegetables producers.
The changes agreed last year as part of CAP Reform, on the proposal of the European Commission and supported by Council and the European Parliament, therefore constitute an important step which should reassure European producers and importers of fruit and vegetables that customs duty collection with respect to third country imports will henceforth occur objectively and transparently.
The customs procedure which has been the object of particular criticism will be definitively eliminated as of October 1st.
As part of this reform it is necessary to update the alternative method for customs declaration, namely the standard import value of tomatoes (SIV). Indeed, whereas historically tomato imports were essentially composed of standard round tomatoes, this has evolved and now includes a much broader selection of speciality varieties, generally of higher value.
It is therefore necessary to factor into the standard import value of tomatoes the weighted average value of such speciality varieties, in line with EU provisions, on the basis of volumes imported into the EU.
The result should be a system which is transparent, objective and fair to all – both our own producers and key partners such as Morocco, which has raised concerns about the operation of the new SIV system. In addition, the Commission has committed to evaluate the sound functioning of the new system as soon as representative data is available, and to address any shortcomings appropriately should this be necessary.
The Commission will therefore proceed with the updated SIV system on this basis, and will inform EU Member States, the European Parliament, relevant third country partners, and European producers accordingly.
In arriving at this outcome, the European Commission held dedicated consultations with Member States most concerned by these imports, as well as with the Moroccan authorities and representatives of EU producers.
The Commission will therefore proceed with these changes on the basis of these prior consultations.