ACP sugar producers ask for more time
The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Group, of which Jamaica is a member, has made a last ditch appeal to the EU Council as it seeks a five-year extension to EU sugar quotas.
The Group warns that there will be market instability and acute risk to their developing economies if the proposal to abolish EU sugar quotas in 2015 rather than 2020 is passed this week.
The warning comes as high-level negotiations on EU agricultural policy are expected to close tomorrow in Brussels.
At the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly last week, ACP countries also expressed serious concerns about the lack of clarity from the European Commission on what market tools will replace the quota system in regulating the market and safeguarding public interests.
The ACP sugar producing states are calling for adequate time to restructure their sugar industries, with a view to being more competitive by 2020.
A five year extension of the current regime would allow time to complete Action Plans jointly agreed with the EU for modernisation, diversification and efficiency improvements.
The period is also needed as the disbursement of the EU’s support programme for greater market liberalisation has been slower than expected.
Studies estimate €850 million in lost revenue up to 2020 for ACP sugar producers in the absence of quotas.
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