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East African partner states want more time to complete adjustment processes ahead of the elimination of European Union sugar quotas scheduled for 2017.
In a report on the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP)-EU joint parliamentary assembly meeting in Mauritius held from February 12-14, MPs cautioned that abolition of sugar quotas could lead to loss of competitiveness and revenues.
The MPs asked the EU to apply a transitional period for phasing out bilateral development funds under the “differentiation” policy of the EU Agenda for Change.
EU sugar quotas are expected to end in 2017 as part of the reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy. The previous market regulation, which was to run to 2015, was extended by two years to the end of September 2017.
“The EU has, however, been criticised within the food manufacturing sector for pushing up the price of sugar. Therefore, some ACP member states are for the idea that the quotas should end in 2017,” said Lawrence Chilimboyi, an ACP expert at the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States in Belgium.
“The EU sugar consumption tends to be above the production quota so, to fill the gap, the EU allows imports from outside the bloc. However, due to higher global prices, the EU had to levy additional duties on supplies from outside the bloc so as to ensure more EU-produced sugar is used.”
Sugar for Africa
A group of least-developed nations and some countries in the ACP group ship their sugar to the EU duty free.
Producers in the EU can by law only sell a limited amount in the common economic area, and some local demand must be met by duty-free shipments from ACP states that have preferential access to the market.
However, according to the International Sugar Organisation, Africa produces less than it needs yet producers still export to Europe and import from Brazil. They say the ban may be a good move as it could promote trade of the commodity within Africa.
– The EastAfrican