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Monday, 21 September 2009

After the Sugar Protocol

On 30 September 2009, the Sugar Protocol will officially expire. Following a six year transition period, the Protocol - which provides a group of ACP countries with guaranteed access to the EU market for fixed quantities of sugar at preferential prices - will be replaced by a non-reciprocal duty and quota-free preferential trade system on 1 October 2015. This article examines these changes to the EU-ACP sugar trade regime. Provisions have been made to allow for a gradual adaptation to the new reality from October 2009 to October 2015. During this period, three major changes will be introduced: guaranteed prices will decrease and finally disappear, quotas will be increased, and the number of ACP countries which can benefit from preferential relations with the EU for sugar will tripple. After 30 September 2009, the EU will offer preferential non-reciprocal treatment to sugar originating from any ACP country that has signed or initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Community and, as a result of the ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) initiative, from any country of the world recognised as an LDC by the United Nations. Taking into account the number of ACP countries involved, the EPA regime will apply to almost half the ACP countries (36) and the EBA regime to 31.

Source: ICTSD