Lithuania, EU to discuss import duties

  • 1999-01-21
VILNIUS (BNS) - A group of Lithuanian Agriculture Ministry specialists are preparing for talks with the European Commission over customs duties on food imports from the EU.

The country's government backed a move by the ministry to revise duties on basic food products, including beef, pork, sausages, sub-products, concentrated milk, cheese and curd, a week ago.

The duties on beef, pork and meat products are likely to increase by 10 percent on average, while those on milk products may go up by 4 percent to 5 percent on average.

"We may have to review the whole agreement on free trade in farming and food products with the European Union," said Dalia Miniataite, director of the ministry's EU Integration Department. The ministry proposed to raise all basic and preferential customs duties to the maximum level of customs tariffs allowed by the EU this year but to lower them again in 2000.

An analysis of Lithuania's trade in food products with the EU shows a rapidly increasing negative balance for this country.

In 1997, Lithuania's food exports to the EU amounted to 495.6 million litas ($123.9 million), while its imports stood at 1.2 billion litas. The respective figures for thefirst three quarters of 1998 were 369 million and 1.1 billion litas.