Tomato tariff will punish consumers, Woolworths

Supermarket giant Woolworths has said that tariffs on ‘dumped’ Italian organic tomatoes will directly affect consumers.

In February this year, the Anti-Dumping commission announced a 5.06 percent tariff on prepared and preserved tomatoes exported from Italy with a 26.35 percent tariff applying to ‘uncooperative producers’.

The tariff was introduced after fruit and vegetable processor, SPC Ardmona successfully applied to the anti-dumping commission to introduce a penalty on exported produce sighting that the domestic industry has suffered material damage as a result of an influx in cheap imports.

However Woolworths has now warned that consumers will have to bear the brunt of the charges should they wish to purchase tinned organic tomatoes as there is no real Australian for them, The Weekly Times Now reports.

“To meet the needs of consumers, Woolworths imports canned organic tomatoes from Italy as there is no Australian supplier of these products,” said the supermarket.

“While still a relatively small part of the total food market, organic foods are an imported segment and are strongly preferred by some Australian consumers.”

Woolworths says that 96 percent of the fruit and vegetables that it sells are Australian grown with the remaining four percent of imported food only sourced to cover seasonal shortages.

The ruling to impose tariffs has also received criticism from the European Union who have accused the Anti-Dumping Commission of flouting World Trade Agreement rules in its inquiry. The EU also accused the commission of failing to conduct a proper impact analysis.

According to the Weekly Times Now, Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane is expected to announce a final ruling on the tariffs by March 21.



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