In an effort to lower food price inflation the government of Turkey recently passed a law to reduce import duties on different types of rice. The new import regime was published in the Turkish Trade Registry Gazette on December 31, 2017, and listed new import duties that will be applied on imported goods as of January 2018.
The new import regime lowers import duties for paddy rice from 34 percent to 5 percent; for brown rice from 36 percent to 10 percent; and for milled rice from 45 percent to 15 percent.
Food inflation in Turkey is caused by the large difference between producer and consumer prices, increased costs for agricultural producers due to devaluation of Turkish currency, and stockpiled goods that lead to high market prices.
The new import duties take effect immediately and last until July 1, 2018, at which point the previous duties will be re-applied. The government also lowered duties on many other imported agricultural items, including meat, corn, beans, and walnuts.
Because Turkey has a zero-tolerance policy on GMOs, the tax reduction for milled rice opens opportunities for U.S. Southern medium grain rice. The milling process reduces the risk of cross-contamination with GMO corn or GMO soy, which has stopped the import of Southern paddy medium grain in the past.