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Monday, 15 July 2013

ACP: dismay at EU decision to end sugar quotas in 2017

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) sugar supplying states are appalled by the final agreement on the new EU agricultural policy (dating 26th June 2013), which stipulates the abolishment of EU beet and isoglucose sugar quotas in 2017, earlier than the initial proposal of 2020, made by the European Parliament, a common press statement released at the end of June 2013 reads.

The ACP group considers that this calls into question the coherence of EU policies, and undermines the basis of the trade and development cooperation partnership between the ACP and the EU. According to the ACP group, this shows that the interests of the ACP group have not been taken into account, in spite of their numerous submissions over the past years. Particularly, the decision was seen to contradict the objectives of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which many of the ACP sugar exporters had entered into or are in the process of finalizing the negotiations with the EU.

In fact, the group has repeatedly warned that an early abolition of quotas would cause the failure of many sugar industries. It cited a European Commission impact study which forecasts a decrease of prices by 45% (compared to 2012 market prices) when the quota would come into place. Furthermore, it drew attention to the December 2012 report by the European Commission Services entitled “Prospects for Agricultural Markets and Income in the EU 2012-2022” which shows that the abolition of quotas would make imports less attractive, and the promote the EU to a situation of self-sufficiency, or even that of a net exporter.
Further studies non-cited by the ACP group would estimate a €850 million lost in revenue up to 2020 for ACP sugar producers – which include five of the world’s Least Developed Countries. What is more, the predicted alteration of the state of sugar industries would  negate the gains made from investments through the EU-funded Accompanying Measures Support Programme.
Moreover, it is considered that the 2017 deadline is too short to allow for implementation of measures to improve the competitiveness of affected industries
Thus, the group called on the EU to review the situation in 2018, in line with the objectives contained in the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreements, and to come up with appropriate corrective measures to further defend the economic interests of the sugar producing countries.
They give as a positive example the sugar policy  of the United States, which includes domestic production limits, and a market share of 15% reserved for developing countries.}

ACP sugar producing states include Barbados, Belize, Republic of Congo, Fiji, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Source: ACP Group