Moroccan tomatoes

Spanish producer-exporters are accusing Morocco of prompting a “crisis” in the EU tomato market.

The federation of producer-exporter associations in Spain, Fepex, has said that Moroccan senders are not respecting the minimum entry price for tomatoes.

This entry price was established in the new association agreement on agricultural trade between the North African country and the EU, which came into force on 1 October.

The entry price is set at €46.10 for 100kg, but if the import price falls below this level, importers must pay a customs duty of €29.80 per 100kg to avoid low-price imports flooding the market.

According to Fepex, import values since 1 November have fallen below €42.40 for 100kg with a historical minimum of €36 for the same weight, which should trigger a customs duty payment.

However, Fepex maintains that the large volumes coming into the EU over the past week indicate that the duty is not being paid, as it would render the imports economically unviable.

“Fepex is calling on the European Commission to demand that the customs authorities put in place efficient entry price system controls so that importers pay the corresponding duty,” the federation said in a statement. “The high volume of imports and low prices have led to a collapse in the market, threatening the viability of tomato production.”