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ACP sugar group welcomes new study

Monday, November 21, 2016

BRUSSELS, Belgium (CMC) — The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Group says it welcomes the new study on the sugar industry undertaken by the European Union.
The “Study on Current and Forecast Market Developments for ACP Sugar Suppliers to the EU Market” sets out a comprehensive assessment of the risks for ACP/EBA sugar producers as a result of changes to the EU sugar regime and it contains a series of helpful tips.
The study was undertaken by United Kingdom-based Cardno/LMC International and funded by the European Union.
Chairman of the ACP Sugar Group, Samuel Chandler, who is also the Barbados Ambassador to the EU, said the ACP will actively pursue the implementation of the recommendations.
The sugar industry is widely recognised as making a significant socio-economic contribution to many ACP states, particularly in generating export earnings and creating employment in rural areas. The ACP Sugar Group includes some of the world’s lowest cost sugar cane producers whose production has been growing over time. It also includes some higher cost industries, where cane production has been falling and the milling sectors are suffering from poor financial performance.
The ACP said that the abolition of both beet sugar and isoglucose quotas from 1 October 2017 will create a more competitive EU market. The EU beet sugar and isoglucose producers will be free to increase and sell all their output within the EU market.
“This will likely reduce the need for imports and, as such, affect the prospects for overseas suppliers with preferential market access. It will also affect the prospects of EU sugar refiners, because they rely on sugar cane imports from ACP countries,” the Brussels-based ACP Secretariat said.
The study notes that ACP sugar industries are in varying states of readiness for the market changes that are expected following the abolition of quotas. Whilst Accompanying Measures for former Sugar Protocol countries (AMSP) have helped ACP countries to adjust in anticipation of the new market environment, many industries still rely heavily on the preferences they receive from exports to the EU.
Furthermore, the study highlighted that whilst problems that arise are highly context specific, all ACP countries are likely to experience lower average selling prices of sugar as EU prices become more closely aligned with world prices. This is likely to result in a decline in incomes in sugar-dependent areas in these countries.
It has been also recognised that efforts to mitigate the impact of preference erosion have been undermined by events that are outside of the control of some countries. Drought in southern Africa and the effects of Cyclone Winston in Fiji mean that these industries will be heading towards 2017/18 below full strength.
“The ACP underscores that, at this crucial stage of preparation for the changing market dynamics, all efforts are made to follow up on the recommendations with vigour to reduce the inevitable socio-economic impacts otherwise confronting ACP sugar producers as a result of changes to the EU sugar regime,” the ACP said in a statement.