The European Commission has presented member states with a new deal with Thailand on rice imports to the EU, it said today (Monday).

This brings to a successful conclusion the process of negotiating the move to a new regime with our main trading partners as required under WTO rules, the commission said.

The agreement establishes bound rates for husked rice, semi-milled and milled rice and broken rice. For semi-milled and milled rice, the EU will adjust every six months the applied tariff rate to €175/t (US$220) or €145/t based on a comparison of actual imports and a reference import level. It will open a zero duty quota of 13,500 tonnes and allocate 4,313 tonnes to Thailand. For broken rice, the EU will apply a duty of €65/t, and will increase the reduced duty quota to 100,000 tonnes.

"I am very pleased with the outcome of these negotiations, which ensures that our interests are safeguarded while at the same time successfully completing the necessary changes to our bound duties for rice in accordance with WTO rules", said Mariann Fischer Boel, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development.

For semi-milled and milled rice, the reference import level for six months is 182,239 tonnes.

For broken rice, the reduced duty is €45/t, and the reduced duty quota will rise to 100,000 tonnes from 80,000 tonnes at present.