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Wednesday, 08 September 2010

SA sugar producers seek interim EU trade pact

South African sugar producers are seeking an interim duty-free export deal for sugar to the European Union (EU) as talks for a quota and tariff-free access into the bloc continue, an industry official has said. The EU, South Africa’s largest trading partner, unveiled a new trade regime last year that allowed the world’s poorest countries quota and tariff-free access into the market. South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, is not regarded as a least developed country and consequently does not benefit from the EU regulation. Trix Trikam, Executive Director of the South African Sugar Association (SASA), said on Thursday that the industry is still in talks with the South African government and the EU to conclude an economic partnership agreement (EPA) that would allow producers to export sugar into the bloc. “In the short-term, we believe that asking for a fixed amount of sugar at duty-free is the way to go. In the long-term we would like what everyone has got, no quota, no duty,” Trikam told Reuters. “If we get the (EU trade deal) we can enhance the revenue. Generally, the price you can earn in the EU market is better than what you would earn on the world market.” The EU has become the world’s biggest sugar importer after the bloc reduced subsidies to its farmers.

Source: Trade Law Center for Southern Africa

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