ACP welcomes vote to extend sugar quota provisions

image Dr. P.I. Gomes (File Photo)

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Monday January 28, 2013 – The Chairman of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Subcommittee, Dr. P.I. Gomes, has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development which supports the extension of the current quota provisions until 30 September 2020.

The ACP says the extension of sugar quotas will help to ensure fair, stable and reasonable remunerative EU sugar market prices to ACP and less developed countries (LDC) exporters under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) and the Everything But Arms Initiative.

“This is indeed a positive development but we have a long way to go.  I seek the support of the European Parliament and the European Council as the final decision is taken on this critical issue,” said the Guyana diplomat.

“It is worth mentioning that coherence between various EU policies, namely trade, development and agriculture, is a core condition of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and  the EPA’s.

“The achievement so far supports the essential coherence of the  EU relationship with ACP and LDC countries and in furtherance of these objectives  it is crucial that EU institutions work to sustain the beet sugar quota arrangements within  the Single Common Market Organisation for sugar until 2020.”

Last week, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development voted on the measure and the ACP said  it had been calling for the long term predictability with continued preference assured to them by tariff barriers and robust mechanism for EU sugar market management. 

“Several ACP/LDC suppliers wish to continue to export raw cane sugar for refining. The ACP is therefore also calling for conditions which can support a viable EU sugar refining industry to provide a dedicated entry to the EU market and to maintain a plurality of potential buyers for EPA/EBA sugar.

“Thus, the ACP does not favour the reinstatement of relinquished beet quotas and is opposed to any allowance of duty free imports from other third parties as this will erode ACP/LDC preference,” the ACP added.

The ACP Sugar Group recently mounted a “strong lobbying action at the political and diplomatic levels and is pleased that the results so far have been positive,” the statement said.

In 2011, the  ACP and LDC cane sugar suppliers expressed what they described as “their profound concern and dismay at the Commission’s proposals in respect of the elimination of sugar quotas”.

They warned that the elimination of sugar quotas as from 2015 disregards the EU market reality, the economic development objectives of the EU’s commitment to their countries as well as the key CAP objective of food security. 

“Indeed these proposals seriously jeopardize the EC market balance and the future of the sugar industries of the ACP/LDCs,” the grouping said. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)

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