GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Kyrgyzstan recently notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that on July 2 it initiated a safeguard investigation into the importation of wheat flour. 

In documents filed with the WTO, the nation said it launched the investigation following a preliminary analysis showing an increase in flour imports in 2011 and 2012 that financially impacted domestic producers of wheat flour.

Specifically, Kyrgyzstan said that in 2011 the volume of wheat flour increased 5.3 times compared to 2010 and in 2012 it increased 4.35 times. It said the workload of production capacities for domestic flour production decreased and the volume of flour production dropped by 8.2% from 2010 to 2011.

Of all the wheat consumed in Kyrg specific weight of imported wheat flour in relation to all wheat flour consumption value of flour increased from 5% in 2010 to 24.85% in 2012. In the first quarter of this year, that indicator has reached 33%.

In 2010, 5% of all flour consumed in Kyrgyzstan was imported. By 2012, that percentage had increased to 24.85%, and in the first quarter of this year the percentage has already reached 33%.

“However the volumes of flour import indicate the real potentiality for further significant growth and their level will have a suppressive effect on prices of domestic producers,” the nation said in the WTO documents.

On the basis of this information, the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Economy decided to initiate a safeguard investigation.

A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to Kyrgyzstan’s domestic milling industry. 

During a safeguard investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties may present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties. 

A WTO member may take a safeguard action (i.e. restrict imports of a product temporarily) only if the increased imports of the product are found to be causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury.