• US wheat group stands firm on Turkish flour issue

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    Washington-based export market development organization US Wheat Associates (USW) stood pat on its statement saying that Turkish government policies encourage flour dumping in the Philippines, a justification for the imposition of an anti-dumping duty against Turkish flour.

    “The Turkish government employs a complex, inward processing scheme that creates disruptive incentives to its milling industry to export flour regardless of price,” Joseph Sowers, USW assistant regional director for South Asia, said in statement relayed through the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (Pafmil).

    Sowers said the fact that even the cheapest Turkish flour is much more expensive in Turkey than similar flour exported to the Philippines, clearly constitute dumping.

    “These facts offer strong justification for the Philippine government to impose a reasonable anti-dumping duty on Turkish flour imports,” he said.

    In fact, the USW 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.

    Sowers clarified that USW reiterated that it has no desire to restrain trade, adding that it supports trade environments with fair and open competition.

    Over the past week, USW publicly shared its opinion that unfair trade policies by the Turkish government are responsible for the dumping of Turkish flour in the Philippines to the detriment of the local milling industry and the many Filipinos it employs.

    The Turkish Flour Yeast and Ingredients (TFYI) Promotion Group refuted the “false and baseless” allegations by the USW in light of the ongoing anti-dumping investigation on the commodity.

    TFYI chairman Turgay Unlu said that the United States, through its Department of Trade, has previously ruled that the Turkish Inward Processing Regime, or IPR, is not a form of subsidy.

    Unlu also asserted that USW is neither a counter party to the investigation nor a World Trade Organization representative, and as such, not authorized to make definitive opinions on the issue.

    USW role
    But Sowers said that TFYI and the Turkish government “can be forgiven for failing to understand USW’s role in the Philippine milling and baking industries.”

    “After all, Turkey has been involved in the Philippine flour market for less than six years, its representatives may not be aware of the fact that USWA has proudly served a productive partnership with flour millers and the entire baking industry in the Philippines for more than 50 years,” he said.

    Sowers stressed that this partnership has always been focused on helping provide practical technical skills bakers have used to expand product variety, and improve upon traditional Filipino products such as pan de sal, monay, siopao and many others that for decades have been baked and sold at reasonable prices with flour milled from US wheat by the Philippines.

    “Over the years, millers and bakers have capitalized on USW-sponsored training programs, mobile baking laboratories and consumer education campaigns that promoted those products and new wheat foods throughout the country,” he said.

    “The Philippine consumer has benefited from these programs through greater product choice and higher quality baked goods,” he added.

    Sowers said that USW has long been a valued source of transparent market information that has been freely offered to help increase the value of imported US wheat to Philippine millers, bakers and consumers.

    “Customers in the Philippines have come to value USW market, quality and trade policy analysis as critical business information. We believe USW has earned the right to comment on the flour dumping issue,” he said.

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