Duty rumours
EU chiefs have denied reports they were considering reducing duty on tuna from Thailand and the Philippines. However, sources in Bangkok confirmed discussions had taken place.
Objections by Spain, Italy and France would make any move unlikely, but behind the scenes the US government has been adding its support to moves by the UK to help stimulate production in poverty-stricken Asian areas.
Importers said any reduction was likely to be nominal and probably only for brine packs to safeguard the European packers, whose demand is for the olive oil product.
There have been attempts in the past to reduce the current differential of 24%, but they were always thwarted by EU producers.

Deliveries down
Milk deliveries to dairies across the UK slipped back again in December according to the Rural Payments Agency.
The total volume of 1,101 million litres was the lowest for December since the disappearance of the Milk Marketing Boards in 1994 and was 3.1% lower than a year earlier. However, the decline was slightly less than November and overall, since the start of the EU milk quota year in April, total deliveries are still slightly ahead of the same period in 2001.
Experts now expect the negative trend to continue in the weeks ahead and this will mean that total deliveries for the full quota year to March 31 will once again be behind the maximum permitted by the EU quota system. This will make it the third year running the UK has fallen below annual quota, a situation dairy farmers blame on low farmgate milk prices.

Voucher protest
The dairy industry is mounting a campaign to persuade the government to reverse plans to replace welfare milk with fruit and veg.
At present, beneficiaries are entitled to exchange weekly tokens for seven pints of milk or 900g of infant formula.
The consultation period on plans to replace the milk with fixed face value tokens ran out before Christmas but dairy processors, retailers and farmers are still hoping to secure a change of plan. Not only is the industry questioning the nutritional logic but they are also underlining the risk of voucher fraud and misuse.
If the plans go ahead the industry claims that milk sales of £35 million a year will be lost and some 1,800 jobs will have to be cut.