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Serbia, Taxes on milk imports protect domestic producers - Serbia Business

Serbia, Taxes on milk imports protect domestic producers

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The Government of Serbia adopted a decision according to which levies (import taxes) of 15 dinars per liter of milk and 30 dinars per kilogram of gouda cheese are introduced.

– We are trying to stabilize the situation with this decision in order to stop the fall in the price of purchased milk on the market and thus protect the Serbian producer – Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Jelena Tanasković told Tanjug. It is a form of market protection against excessive imports.

This was previously confirmed by the Mačvan District Milk Producers’ Association for that agency. The president of that association, Goran Vasić, welcomed the state’s decision and emphasized that it is a good measure for milk producers.

– In our presentations and requests, we stated that the priority of all priorities is the protection of domestic milk production. It is a forced decision, but the best possible one under these circumstances, after the import ban, which is currently unfeasible – said Vasić.

He stated that the domestic market is flooded with dairy products that are unfair competition to domestic ones. Thus, imported cheese is sold at a price of 3.5 to 4 euros, although in Europe its production costs 6 euros.

The introduction of the levyman should bring order to this area, he stressed. “I don’t think the government will have a problem proving to the European Commission that this decision is correct and forced, because the fact that the Chinese are withdrawing from the European market and terminating contracts for the purchase of some dairy products, especially cheese, says it all.”

So we got into an absurd situation, because six euros are needed for a kilogram of cheese, because a liter of milk in Europe is about 58 eurocents, and they sell it here for three and a half and four euros. Simply, that cheese has its shelf life and they want to sell it as soon as possible. So does gouda cheese.

According to data from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), which were provided to “Politika” yesterday, the import of milk and milk products in 2022 amounted to 204 million euros. All products are included in this: from pasteurized milk, butter to cheese and cheese. Compared to 2021, imports have doubled (that year it amounted to 107.6 million euros).

We mostly imported from the European Union (Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, Italy depending on the product).

Let us remind you that in 2014, Serbia already introduced surcharges on the import of powdered milk. This type of protection is usually first introduced for a period of six months, after which analyzes are made on the effects.

Nenad Budimović, secretary of the Association for Livestock Breeding at PKS, told our newspaper that this is only one of the methods for stabilizing the market, but that it cannot last forever, but after a certain period, if the measure shows results, the levies will be abolished.

– The issue of dairying needs to be solved systematically in the meantime and, as already stated in the Ministry of Agriculture, through increasing the number of dairy cows – he emphasized. One of the proposals is to regionalize milk production because it is not the same to produce it in central Serbia and in Vojvodina. Experts from the Faculty of Agriculture have previously warned that it is necessary to conduct serious analyzes of the consumption of milk and dairy products in Serbia, and then accordingly create an incentive policy.

Budimović said that we are at the bottom of the ladder in terms of consumption of milk and milk products in Europe. We produce about 1.47 billion liters. A little more than half enters processing capacities, dairies. The rest ends up in domestic consumption, cheese and cream production.

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