The 25% duty on US corn [maize] imports was part of a group of import levies applied on US goods in retaliation for ‘Section 232’ tariffs imposed by the US on UK exports of steel and aluminium in 2018 under US president, Donald Trump.
Since the tariff was applied, no corn has been imported to the UK from the US. The EU removed the levy on January 1, but the UK chose to retain it.
Ed Barker, head of policy at the AIC, commented: “Since the start of the war in Ukraine, AIC has been clear that the UK government must be prepared to take quick action to facilitate the continued supply of inputs to UK agriculture, such as animal feed. This includes addressing barriers to trade with the EU or the rest of the world.
“We had been pressing the government to review the 25% import tariff on US corn since the end of 2021. The decision to lift it will help to mitigate the now limited corn exports coming from Ukraine and Russia and will improve the ability of the agri-supply chain to maintain a continued supply of animal feed to UK farmers.”
The organization noted that 27% of the UK’s corn imports come from Ukraine.
“There will continue to be challenges arising from the war in Ukraine that will have negative impacts on the wider agri-supply chain. The UK government must work closely with the agri-supply industry to find appropriate resolutions. No policy or legislative responses should be considered off the table,” added Barker.
EU contingency measures
The Black Sea region represents an important supply of grains and oilseed products for the world market. For Europe, corn represents the main imported product from Ukraine with a yearly average of 11 million tons.
EU countries are increasingly looking to the Americas for alternative supplies. Spain, a major buyer of feed corn from Ukraine, announced on March 14 that it would approve emergency purchases of feed corn from Argentina, the world’s second-largest corn exporter behind the US.
Spain had been pushing the EU Commission to loosen the rules on pesticides in agricultural imports to be able to buy corn from Argentina to cover the shortfall from the Black Sea, and on Friday last, March 11, EU officials authorized member states to lift some technical restrictions linked to existing maximum pesticide residue limit for feed with "full guarantee and safety of the agri-food trade," said Luis Planas, agriculture minister of Spain.