Turkish group hits USWA on flour issue

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The Turkish Flour Yeast and Ingredients (TFYI) Promotion Group on Wednesday refuted the “false and baseless” allegations of the US Wheat Associates (USWA), the market development organization of the US wheat industry, against Turkish flour exporters in light of the ongoing antidumping investigation on the commodity.

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In a statement, TFYI Chairman Turgay Unlu said that the United States (US), through its Department of Trade, previously ruled that the Turkish Inward Processing Regime (IPR) is not a form of subsidy.

“It is practiced and known globally as the Duty-Drawback system, and complies with the rules established by the World Trade Organization [WTO],” Unlu said.

The group chairman also asserted that USWA is neither a counter party to the investigation nor a WTO representative, and as such, is not authorized to make definitive opinions on the issue.

Unlu also said that their group is in the process of preparing a detailed report on the matter.

Earlier, the Washington-based export market development organization USWA hit Turkish government policies, which “encourage” flour dumping in the Philippines.

Joseph Sowers, USWA assistant regional director for South Asia, said that the Turkish government employs a complex, inward processing scheme that creates disruptive incentives to its milling industry to export flour regardless of price.

“Public price information from the Polati grain exchange shows that flour prices in Turkey are significantly more expensive than their export prices,” Sowers said in statement relayed through the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (Pafmil).

In fact, the official said that export prices for Turkish flour are even less than the market price its millers must pay to buy wheat to make its flour, in part because the Turkish government sets artificially high support prices for its wheat farmers while currently imposing a 130-percent duty on imported wheat.

“These facts offer strong justification for the Philippine government to protect the Philippines’ flour milling industry from such unfair competition,” Sowers said.

But TFYI Promotion Group has denied allegations of unfair trade made by local flour millers against wheat flour from Turkey.

Also, TFYI highlighted the role of Turkish flour in the Philippines, saying that this raw material has allowed many small- and medium-scale enterprises to survive amid increasing production and operating costs.

TFYI member Hakan Esen said that Turkish flour is reasonably priced because of a number of factors such as the economies of scale at Turkish mills, the country’s strategic location, accessibility to wheat, and the practice of the duty-drawback system. He noted that the dynamics of the Turkish market and those of their international buyers are varied.

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