Changes in EU sugar regime

Posted on: 23/05/2014

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest producer of beet sugar and the main importer of cane sugar for refining. About 50 percent of the world’s beet sugar is produced in the EU in the framework of a quota system establishing the division of the total production quota of 13.3 million tons among the EU sugar producing member states. A minimum price for beet sugar (only for in-quota quantities) and a reference price for white sugar and raw sugar are also part of the complex EU sugar regime. However, this regime will be reformed in 2017.  The upcoming change in the EU sugar regime will be discussed during the three-day 45th Council Session of the International Sugar Organisation (ISO), starting yesterday in Montego Bay, St James. Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Roger Clarke said that challenges facing the sugar industry, including cost of production, will be discussed at the meeting. The minister added that the Caribbean Community (Caricom) delegates will be particularly interested in the discussion on the sugar regime.

In addition France has said it is concerned about the liberalisation of EU sugar market.  French sugar production in its overseas departments is poorly equipped to cope with the liberalisation of the European sugar market planned for 2017. According to a report by the French parliament, ending European support of the sugar sector will harm production in France’s overseas departments. Many people in French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and especially the Reunion, live from the proceeds of the sugar industry, which is currently protected by European regulation.

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