30 July 1998
EU clashes with USA over gluten

THE European Commission (EC) plans to slap a tax on imports of US corn gluten in retaliation against US restrictions on the import of wheat gluten. Corn gluten is protein used in animal feed.

Franz Fischler, European Union (EU) farm commissioner, proposed a duty of Ecu5/ tonne on 2.73 tonnes of US corn gluten feed, roughly half the US import total. The move was made in response to the US presidents decision to restrict imports of wheat gluten from the EU, Australia, Taiwan, China and Argentina.

The US action was taken in response to claims by US producers that they were undercut by subsidised imports.

The US measure will last three years. Under World Trade Organisation rules the EUs duties will not take effect until June 2001, unless the EU successfully challenges the USA through the WTO.

The EU says it is “astonished” by Americas restrictive trade measures considering it continually urges WTO members to liberalise their markets.