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Morocco sees no further wheat import tariff cut.

Summary: Morocco is happy with the level of its wheat import tariffs after lowering them in the new year and plans no further reductions, the head of its grain import agency ONICL said on Thursday.

Morocco is happy with the level of its wheat import tariffs after lowering them in the new year and plans no further reductions, the head of its grain import agency ONICL said on Thursday. The north African country has slashed soft wheat import tariffs to 90 percent from 135 percent and durum wheat to 80 percent from 170 percent, ONICL said earlier this week. European traders said French grain was being shipped to Morocco in smaller vessels than usual because some expect ONICL to cut import tariffs again and are delaying bigger shipments. "There will be no further lowering of tariffs. I think the level is good enough," ONICL Managing Director Aziz Abdelali told Reuters. "The traders may have their own reasons (for the smaller shipment sizes)". Morocco imposed the higher tariffs last June to protect local farmers from foreign competition after a bumper harvest. Morocco usually imports between 1 and 3 million tonnes of cereals a year, mostly soft wheat. A lot comes from the United States and the European Union under free trade deals. ONICL issued tenders last month for 150,000 tonnes of EU soft wheat for delivery by February 28 and 200,000 tonnes from the United States by March 31. This week it announced a further tender for 103,000 tonnes of U.S. soft wheat. Abdelali said most of the U.S. grain import quota would be fulfilled if traders import the maximum allowed in the tenders. "This could be most of the 2010 quota if you take into account that an additional 10 percent can be imported beyond those totals," he said. Regarding Morocco's EU grain import quota, he said: "Once the grain now arriving has all landed, there will probably be zero remaining in the quota ... until the next marketing year."

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Publication:UMCI News (Potomac Falls, VA)
Date:Feb 5, 2010
Words:345
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