The majority of an import quota to lower taxes on 550 tons of imported meat products from the EU was never collected by the companies that were entitled to use it, as revealed today. The quota was supposed to contribute to lower food prices.
Iceland and the EU reached an agreement on the quota last January, which would reduce taxes on imported meat products by 40 percent and thereby influence food prices in Iceland, Fréttabladid reports.
The slaughter house in Hella (SH), south Iceland, bid for the majority of the quota, about 320 tons. Thereafter SH should have applied for a license at the beginning of June to collect and use the quota, but the company never applied.
Gudmar Jón Tómasson, director of SH, said the company had decided not to use the quota since the only beef that was to be imported were fillets, and not minced meat, which they would have more use for than fillets.
Leifur Thórsson, the managing director of the meat company Ferskar kjötvörur, who was keen on using the import quota SH did not use, said he is dissatisfied with SH’s working methods and with the Ministry of Agriculture for not giving him a clear answer on whether and when he could bid for the unused quota.
“I am certain that the quota [which SH didn’t use] will be handed out again,” said Gudmundur B. Helgason, the director of the Ministry of Agriculture. He said an advisory council is to meet next month to review the regulations on bidding for the import quota.
“We’d like to see more responsible behavior,” Helgason concluded.
Click here to read about the agreement between Iceland and the EU.