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Friday, 05 February 2010

European sugar exports pending approval from Brussels

Despite soaring sugar prices resulting from poor cane harvests, European beet growers are blocked from exporting their surplus sugar, despite repeated requests. Enough is enough! Europe has produced record sugar production this year, thanks to the favourable weather conditions for sugar beet cultivation. The EU thus has a sugar surplus of several million tonnes, but is currently restricted by an export ceiling of 1.35 million tonnes imposed by the WTO. For years, thanks to subsidies from Brussels, European sugar flooded the world market, despite the fact that its price was far higher than that of the market. In order to comply with the WTO ruling and end this unfair competition, the European Commission reorganized the sector, limiting production, drastically reducing price guarantees and since last year authorizing export licences without public assistance.The reform has been effective – from being a sugar exporter, Europe is now a net importer – but the spiralling prices of the last 12 months have changed the game.Current European prices are now lower than the world market price; yet European sugar producers cannot sell their surplus and satisfy the demand of the large sugar importers. The case will be discussed by the Commission this Monday.

Source: RFI

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