A fall in the price of tomato concentrate in Italy has prompted the Italian government to ask the European Union (EU) to protect EU producers from Chinese imports, the Il Messagero newspaper has reported.

It said Italy would ask Brussels to immediately ban Chinese concentrate, but given China’s membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the more likely response is the potential imposition of temporary safeguard duties.

These are allowed under WTO rules to protect against a surge in imports of a particular product. In this instance, Italian officials claim Chinese concentrate prices – even including shipping costs – are now close to those of Italian producers, selling in Italy.