Colombia Moves to Slap Anti-dumping Duty on Fry Imports

The Colombian government’s Committee on Commercial Practices in Bogotá has recommended the imposition of anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products sourced from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. As such, an ad valorem tax is to be applied to french fries and other value added potato items imported at prices that are lower in the Colombia than prices in the country of origin.

The Committee announced the recommendation on November 1 after evaluating “final results of an investigation that found dumping has indeed occurred,” and the causal relationship between the importation at low prices and the damage caused to the national productive sector was real.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrés Valencia Pinzón, commented: "This is a historic decision, and as a result, 74% of imports of frozen potatoes that entered the country at anti-dumping prices must now enter at prices that do not affect the production of the national agro-industry."

According to Laura Valdivieso Jiménez, the deputy minister of foreign trade, the decision is the result of meticulous research that took into account different market variables (internal and external) and possible damage to this domestic sector in Colombia.

columbia fries"With this type of commercial defense measure, what is sought is to restore the conditions of market competition and correct the distortion to the national market," she said.

It remains to be seen how exporters in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany will respond to the advalorem tax. Earlier this year the Netherlands asked the European Commission (EC) to appeal to the Colombian government on its behalf in regard to pending anti-dumping regulations against the Dutch potato sector. It was advised at the time that an official WTO complaint could not be made until definitive anti-dumping regulations are imposed. Now that the duty is being imposed, the ball is in the EC’s court.

Meanwhile, definitive anti-dumping duties against frozen potato imports from the Netherlands and other European countries remain in effect in South Africa and Brazil. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, has voiced opposition to this in addition to the recent development in Colombia.