BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Increased supply and low prices for maize worldwide has prompted the European Commission to implement import duties on maize, sorghum and rye.

According to the European Commission, the import duty for the three commodities is based on the difference between a European reference price and the world benchmark for maize — the US price, calculated as cif maize price (cost, insurance and freight included) at the port of Rotterdam.

“The US maize price is declining significantly due to the collapse of oil prices, which led to a drop in bioethanol fuel demand in the US (maize being the main raw material for ethanol production),” the European Commission said. “In parallel, a record maize harvest is expected in 2020-21 at a global level.”

Falling energy prices also have decreased freight costs.

All of these elements combined caused the US cif market prices for maize at the port of Rotterdam to fall and stood at €149.84 per tonne compared to €162.24 a year ago.

These import duties were triggered automatically by the Blair House Agreement between the United States and the EU involving setting tariffs on the basis of individual world reference prices for specific commodity types.

In July 2011, it was decided the import price for sorghum and rye would be equal to the cif import price for maize.

The latest import duties for maize, sorghum and rye were in force between August 2017 and March 2018. Since March 3, 2018, and until April 27, 2020, the duty was set at €0 per tonne. The import duties are now fixed at €5.27 per tonne and will apply until the automatic calculation lead to a new figure.