The Belgian, Dutch and German potato industries are afraid that it will become increasingly difficult to export frozen fries to the South American market. Colombia has announced that it will charge anti-dumping tariffs on frozen potato products from these three European countries.
“The threat Colombia poses is relatively limited. A reasonably small volume of French fries is sent to the Colombian market. This market is currently good for total imports of 47.000 tons in 2017/2018. Of this, Belgium exports 27.000 tons, the Netherlands 11.000 tons, the USA 3.600 tons, Canada 2.200 tons, and Germany 1.400 tons”, says Romain Cools of Belgapom. Belgapom is the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association.
He goes on to say that, “Therein lies the core of the problem. The procedure is being put in place by the Colombian growers association, Fedepapa. They are working with local potato processing industries. They are also targeting only Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Not the USA and Canada, who are, when it comes to volumes, more important than Germany.”
It is essential to put a stop to this and not have other countries inspired to follow suit, says Cools. “We have already heard rumblings from Peru and Argentina. After Brexit, if the United Kingdom starts a similar procedure, the same might happen there. The effect of this on the entire European potato chain cannot be underestimated.”