RABAT Jan 9 (Reuters) – Morocco’s state-run grains authority ONICL on Monday launched a tender to import up to 100,000 tonnes of EU barley under a preferential tariff agreement, but turned to the domestic market for the supply of 190,000 tonnes of milling wheat.
ONICL has set a Jan. 20 deadline for bids in the barley tender requesting that shipments arrive by end-March.
Under the same tariff agreement with the European bloc, ONICL is also seeking to buy 2,000 tonnes of maize, 3,000 tonnes of sorghum and 800 tonnes of oats, fixing the same deadline for bids and a May 31 deadline for their delivery.
ONICL also invited locally-registered traders to bid for the purchase of 190,000 tonnes of milling wheat destined to make subsidised flour. Local traders have three months to deliver the wheat after a Jan. 17 deadline ONICL fixed for the bids.
Morocco applies preferential tariffs under free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, but high custom duties have undermined tenders held since late August to import wheat from the two.
Last month, Rabat extended until end-February the suspension of import duties on wheat, a measure that has initially been decreed for the Nov. 15-Dec. 31, 2011 period.
The measure allows tariff-free imports. Prior to that, Morocco applied an import tariff of 135 percent for soft wheat and 80 percent on durum.
ONICL has said soft wheat stocks closed 2011 at a record 1.6 million tonnes, or enough to cover four months of milling needs.
(af.reuters.com / 09.01.2012)