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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Thailand, Brazil, Australia may take EU sugar case to WTO

The world’s three major sugar-exporting nations – Thailand, Brazil and Australia – recently expressed their opposition to the European Union’s (EU’s) export subsidy on sugar, on the grounds that it affects prices and lowers other countries’ export volumes. The three countries have agreed on the possible filing of a case to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if the EU does not review its policy. Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot said at an unofficial meeting of trade representatives to the WTO in Davos, Switzerland, that the countries are extremely concerned about the EU’s decision to increase its export subsidy to 500 000 tonnes, as it could affect global sugar trading. The joint move was aimed at pressuring the EU to review its decision, as the subsidy would lead to lower sugar prices in the world market, which would in turn hurt sugar-cane farmers in developing nations. The EU’s subsidies allow operators in its member states to sell sugar at below the global price, which has reduced opportunities for other exporting countries.

Source: Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa