Illustrative image (Source: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Cambodia has announced that it will file a lawsuit against the EU to the European court after Brussels applied high tariffs on rice exported from the Southeast Asian country.

The move comes after the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced in January that it will impose duties on Indica rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar for three years.

The EU had complained of a significant increase in Indica rice imports over the last five years, which had punished European producers, especially in Italy.

The market share of EU producers fell over this period from 61 percent to 29 percent, the commission said.

According to Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, the EC’s announcement that imports of Indica rice from the two countries had risen by 89 percent in the past five rice-growing seasons was based on wrongful information and would affect farmers in one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.

Indica rice from the two countries is subject to a duty of 175 EUR (197.25 USD) per tonne in the first year, dropping to 150 EUR in the second and 125 EUR in the third year.

A statement from the Cambodian Rice Federation said that the defensive measures are fundamentally misguided and a misapplication of EU law.

The reintroduction of import duties is detrimental to the Cambodian economy and its industry, but above all to its people, it said.

Up until January, Cambodia and Myanmar had fully benefited from the Everything But Arms initiative, which allows developing countries to export their products to the EU with zero duties.–VNA