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Wheat - Market Report

General Market Overview

Canadian wheat and durum wheat exports to the EU were approximately 1.294 million tonnes. The largest EU market for Canadian durum wheat in 2012 was Italy (670,000 tonnes).

Tariffs/Market Access Issues

Non-Durum Wheat

The market access conditions for non-durum wheat differ between "high quality" and "low-to-medium quality" wheat. "High" quality non-durum wheat must have a minimum protein content of 14% (according to EU measurement standards), a minimum specific weight of 77.0 kg/hectolitre and a maximum impurity percentage (Schwarzbesatz) of 1.5%. "Low/medium" quality non-durum wheat is everything else.

High Quality Wheat

Import duties on high quality wheat are calculated as the difference between the "world price" for wheat (basis Rotterdam) and 155% of the EU intervention price for cereal grain adjusted as appropriate by the "storage premium". The "world" price is a Minneapolis price for high quality wheat, adjusted for transportation costs and converted to euros (a 14 €/tonne premium is added).

The EU intervention price is 101.31 €/tonne. The "storage premia" begin at 0.46 €/tonne in November and rise to 3.22 €/tonne in June. They are zero between July and October. The maximum duty that can be applied is 95 €/tonne (the WTO bound rate of duty).

During periods when a duty applies, there is an annual 300,000 tonne duty free quota allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

High quality wheat exports from Canada to the EU must be accompanied by a Certificate Final of a specific format (describing protein level and weight) issued by the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). Product not accompanied by this document is assumed to be of low-to-medium quality.

Low-to-Medium Quality Wheat

The EU maintains a Tariff Rate Quota for imports of this quality of non-durum wheat. Canada has a "reserve" within this TRQ of 38,853 tonnes. The quota is opened on a calendar year basis and is a 2first-come, first served" quota. There is an "in-quota" duty of €12/tonne. The over-quota duty is €95/tonne.

EU regulation (PDF*, 131 KB) on the opening of a tariff rate quota on the importation of quality other than high quality wheat.

Durum Wheat

The EU maintains a variable import levy system for 3 "categories" of durum wheat: high quality, medium quality and low quality. For each category the import duty is calculated as the difference between a "world" price and the EU internal price. The "world" price is central US price (Minneapolis) adjusted by transport and other costs to equate to a "landed" price in the EU. The US price used for high quality durum is the actual price; the prices for medium and low quality are standard discounts (of 10 euros and 30 euros, respectively) from the high quality price. The EU internal price is 155% of the intervention price adjusted for the "storage premium". The maximum duty that can be applied is 148 €/tonne (the WTO bound rate of duty).

High and medium quality durum must have a minimum specific weight of 76.0 kg/hectolitre and a maximum impurity percentage (Schwarzbesatz) of 1.5%. The difference between high, medium and low quality is defined by Hard Vitreous Kernel (HVK) content (using the European methodology for determining HVK). High quality must have a minimum HVK content of 75.0%.

Organic Wheat

Organic wheat is subject to the same definitions (high vs medium/low quality) and TRQs as non-organic wheat. High quality organic wheat must be accompanied by the certificate issued by the Canadian Grain Commission. In addition, organic wheat producers must comply with EU regulations on organics (please see links below).

Import License

It is important to note that in order for a buyer to legally import cereals into the EU under a tariff rate quota, they must be in possession of an import license for that specific cereal. These licenses are issued in relation to specific quotas by the national competent authority (i.e. responsible government ministry/agency or officially designated company in each EU member state) after consultations with the EU Commission.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues

The European Commission has strict regulations in place on the maximum amount of a number of contaminants permissible in cereals. Controlled contaminants in wheat include aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, T-2 and HT-2 toxin, lead, and cadmium. Exporters should familiarize themselves with the EU regulation on contaminants (PDF*, 147 KB).

Wheat exported to EU member states for consumption does not require a phytosanitary certificate.

Other Links and Legislation

Useful Contacts

Legal Notice

The Government of Canada has prepared this document based on primary and secondary sources of information. Readers should take note that the Government of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information contained in this report, nor does it necessarily endorse the organizations listed herein. Readers should independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information.

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