Nina Georgieva, Head of Agricultural Market Mechanisms Department with State Fund Agriculture, talks about the measure for payment of export refunds for agricultural products to third countries, in an interview with Focus News Agency.
Focus: Ms Georgieva, what is the measure for payment of export refunds for agricultural products to third countries?
Nina Georgieva: This is a measure, which stimulates the export outside of the EU. It is a very useful scheme for exporters, as it levels the lower global price of some products to the higher EU one. The difference between the EU price and the lower global one is paid as an aid, as a grant. This is a very big non-investment aid for traders. It is important to note that this aid is given not to the producers, but to the exporters. It is not difficult to apply this measure, as it does not require much paperwork from the exporters, with the exception of a document for tracing the terms. This document must be ready when the export is initiated and must be signed by an exiting customs bureau, i.e. when the goods leave the boundaries of the EU, not the Bulgarian ones.
Focus: Who can apply for such financing?
Nina Georgieva: If we talk about bird meat and eggs, it could be used by traders of bird meat, who can prove their trading history with bird meat and eggs over the last 12 months, and that they trade with goods produced on the territory of the EU. I would like to clarify that the goods do not have to be produced in Bulgaria, but anywhere on the territory of the EU.
Focus: What is the interest towards this measure?
Nina Georgieva: It varies in different years, as the European Commission has had different aid schemes. The interest depends largely on the market situation, and on the will of traders – whether they prefer to export in the EU, or outside of it. Over the years we have had different fixations – for grain cultures; for sugar; for products with added sugar with jams or compotes, as there has been high interest in Russia in this sector; for isoglucose, which is produced by maize. There was a reform in the sugar sector in 2008, when the aid was stopped. The opportunity for aid was not repealed, but the amount of aid for the sugar sector was fixed at 0. Currently, all traders of meat products, i.e. bird meat, eggs, beef, and lamb are able to take advantage of this measure, if they can find enough quantities for export. Our appeal towards traders is to reconsider the markets, and their market orientation, and if they trade with the permitted countries, to visit us, because they are entitled to these refunds.
Focus: What has been the biggest change since the start of this measure, in 2007?
Nina Georgieva: The amount of refunds and the products applicable have changed over the years. The dynamics of the market changes the strategies of traders. When we talk about bird meat and eggs, beef, or lamb, the interest of Bulgarian traders dates from 2010, despite the fact that there have been even more beneficial conditions in 2007.
Focus: What sphere are Bulgarian exporters most interested in?
Nina Georgieva: Bird meat and eggs, if we talk about the current moment.
Focus: What happens to sectors, where the refund has been fixed at 0?
Nina Georgieva: They simply do not receive any refunding. They export without aid.
Focus: Does the export in such sectors continue?
Nina Georgieva: I suppose so, yes. But we do not have any specific data, so I cannot really comment.
Focus: What is the amount of refund for bird meat?
Nina Georgieva: For bird meat the refund amounts at EUR 32.5 per 100 kg. If we take a truck with 20 tons exported to, let us say, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, or any country with fixed refunding for export, and the product is frozen bird meat, for example, for 20 tons the trader receives aid of BGN 12,713.
Focus: What are the countries towards which Bulgaria has highest export of agricultural products?
Nina Georgieva: The former Soviet republics, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, and Georgia.