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Thursday, 11 April 2013

ACP deplores the vote of the Council of the EU on sugar quotas

The group of ACP Sugar Suppliers from least developed countries (LDCs) to the EU is disappointed with the EU Agriculture Council’s agreement to extend the quotas for sugar by only  two years to 2017 instead of 2020 as agreed by the European Parliament, and sees the Council’s mandate as a tantamount to treating the ACP/LDC as ‘residual players to be considered solely as collateral damage in a political compromise’.
They believe that the Council proposal ignores the importance of the sugar industry to their economies and social fabric. In this context the ACP /LDC countries reminded the Council of the principles underpinned by Cotonou, the Economic Partnership Agreements and the Everything but Arms Initiative which were intended to protect the EU’s small and vulnerable trading partners.  
The ACP/LDC Group seeks the extension of the EU sugar regime until 2020 to allow its sugar industries to complete the Action Plans agreed with the EU for the modernization, diversification and efficiency improvements on which ACP/LDC countries have already committed considerable funds. It is considered that the programme to prepare the ACP/LDC suppliers for greater market liberalisation is already jeopardised by the slower than anticipated disbursement of the EU’s Accompanying Measures Sugar support programme.  
“EU ministers did not take account of the development dimension agreed between the EU and ACP States under the Economic Partnership Agreements and Everything But Arms Initiative,” said the ACP Sugar Sub Committee Chairman Ambassador Gomes after the Council’s announcement.  “It is disappointing that no consideration was given to the ACP and LDC sugar suppliers who have been an integral and consistent supply source of the European sugar market for over 50 years”.

Source: ACP