Tue | Apr 7, 2020

ACP sugar producers want UK to provide new incentive

Published:Sunday | February 2, 2020 | 10:44 AM

BRUSSELS, CMC – The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on Saturday provides a “real opportunity” to create preferential access for sugar industries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) as well as lesser developed countries (LDC), according to the ACP/ LDC Sugar Industries Group (ACP Sugar).

In an Aide-Memoire titled “ACP and LDC cane sugar in the EU market,” which gives a background on the vital role of sugar cane industries in ACP and LDC countries, the group said, “this trade could once again become the engine for development within national economies and the nations that depend on them”.

Britain’s withdrawal from the 28-member EU grouping also contains a provision for a transition period until December 31, 2020, within which European Union law will continue to be applicable to the United Kingdom.

ACP Sugar, which is an organisation representing 19 sugar industries, is urging the United Kingdom government, at the end of the transition period, to implement an independent sugar policy that creates a sustainable cane sector and market value for ACP-LDC suppliers.

It also wants the UK to apply a tariff on sugar imports from non ACP-LDC countries at levels no lower than those set out in the Temporary Tariff Schedules and to treat sugar as a sensitive product during the negotiation of all free trade agreements, especially with the EU27.

In addition, ACP Sugar is calling for London to “open and administer Autonomous Tariff rate Quotas only on the basis of a UK requirement established by verifiable market data”.

It said that despite the end of the Sugar Protocol and successive reforms of the EU sugar regime, the most significant being in 2017, ACP and LDC countries delivered in 2018/19 more than 1.24 million tonnes of raw, refined and speciality sugars to the EU of which 382,000 tonnes were delivered to the UK.

But the ACP Sugar noted that “the reform of the European sugar regime from 1st October 2017 has fundamentally affected the value of the trade in sugar from ACP and LDC countries, a trade that remains the backbone of many sugar industries and national economies in some of the poorest countries in the world”.

“The UK government should heed the plight of the ACP and LDC cane sugar producing countries and acknowledge the developmental benefits their industries provide by structuring a new trading system which supports them with a sustainable price for their sugar.

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