EU’s anti-dumping decision to hit Turkish fishermen
İZMİR/RİGA - Anadolu Agency
REUTERS PhotoThe European Commission’s planned 9 percent anti-dumping decision on trout imports from Turkey has alarmed Turkish fishermen, who are worried about losing their biggest market.
Turkey is now preparing to offer a number of alternative solutions by November, when the planned decision is expected to take effect, said Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker.
“We can now discuss the planned anti-dumping decision of the commission, which came onto the agenda upon the application of Denmark, along with our European counterparts. We have until November, when the decision will take effect. We now have a couple of alternative solutions. We are now trying to push the best solution for Turkey’s benefit,” said Eker, who was in Latvia as part of an official visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s on Oct. 23.
The EU started an investigation into Turkish rainbow trout production subsidies on Feb. 15, following complaints by European producers, led by Denmark, of unfair competition.
“Imports in the EU of publicly funded trout harvested in Turkey and at dumped prices have substantially grown during the past years, to a point in which their EU market share, which was 7 percent in 2009,
would reach almost 18 percent in 2013,” European producers said in a complaint.
The European Commission said the Turkish state granted its producers high contributions for a single kilogram of rainbow trout, prompting them to demand the imposition of import duties for the biggest four Turkish trout producers of between 7 and 9.5 percent.
“Turkey’s subsidies to the sector are not that high, compared to our European counterparts. We have our own arguments and we are in the middle of a negotiation process with the commission,” Eker said.
Turkey processes 75,000 tons of trout annually. Turkish exporters are the export leader in the European market with around 30,000 tons of annual exports.
Rainbow trout, whose name refers to the many rainbow-colored spots on its skin, is the leading freshwater cultured species in Europe. Native to the Pacific coastal area in the United States, it was introduced into Europe at the end of the 19th century. Its hardiness and fast growth quickly proved particularly well adapted to aquaculture. Rainbow trout are farmed today in nearly all European countries, especially coastal countries with a temperate climate.
The majority of Turkish producers do not want to make any comment, saying the anti-subsidy investigation is continuing and that no formal decision has yet been taken. In the event the commission imposes provisional measures, interested parties will be given the opportunity to comment, they said.
Sector representatives said European producers could not meet the high trout demands of the continent.
“Therefore, they will keep importing Turkish trout. As sector representatives, we are discussing alternatives with the government other than direct state subsidies to the sector, such as contributions in technology, equipment, modernization and the like,” said the head of the Union of Aegean Fisheries and Animal Products Exporters, Sinan Kızıltan.