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Thursday, 30 May 2013

ACP reiterates concern over sugar quotas abolishment date

The ACP sugar supplying states have reiterated their concerns about the upcoming EU Common Agricultural Policy reform, which, according to the current (not final) version, stipulates that the sugar quotas are to be abolished in 2017, three years before the 2020 date, as voted by the European Parliament.
In a letter sent to the current Chair of the EU Council of Agriculture (the Irish Agriculture Minister, S. Coveney) on May, 27, the Chairman of the ACP Subcommittee on Sugar,  Ambassador P.I Gomes of Guyana, argues that abolishing sugar quotas before 2020 could cripple the small and vulnerable sugar exporting ACP countries. Ambassador Gomes believes that an earlier abolishment of the quotas would break the commitments made in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and EPAs in terms of maintenance of preferential market access for the ACP.  
The letter mentions a December 2012 report by the European Commission (“Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU 2012-2022”), which shows that the earlier expiry of sugar quotas in 2015 would lead to a reduction of the domestic sugar price in the EU, which would make imports, including preferential access, less attractive.
The EU Agriculture Council agreed at the beginning of this year to extend the quotas for sugar - expiring in 2015- by only two years to 2017. ACP sugar exports to the EU amount to 2.3 million tones yearly.

The ACP Sugar group has made a similar statement in March.

Source: ACP Group