The Council of the European Union last night issued a mandate to scrap EU sugar quotas by 2017 and a final decision is now set for June.
The European Parliament voted to keep EU sugar quotas in the Common Agricultural Policy reforms (CAP) until 2020 on 13 March. A final decision will now be debated in negotiations between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council between 11 April and 20 June, after which a final decision will be taken.
CIUS: 2017 a compromise
European Sugar Users (CIUS), an association whose members include Mars, Mondelez, Ferrero and Nestlé, said it was disappointed ministers did not stick to the European Commission’s proposal to end sugar quotas in 2015, but welcomed 2017 as a compromise.
Muriel Korter, secretary general of CIUS, said: “While an end date in 2016/17 is a political compromise, in economic terms any additional year that the sugar production quotas are kept in place is a loss of European competiveness, in particular for SMEs.”
“Continuing production quotas, that in recent years have led to unnecessary supply constraints triggering artificial price inflation, will be to the detriment of thousands of food producing companies across the EU.”
The EU has had a production quota on sugar beet averaging 13.3m metric tons (MT) per annum since 2010 that many sugar users including confectioners say has led to shortages, high prices and job losses.
Some sugar growers and groups like ASSUC (European Association of Sugar Traders) argue that abolishing the quotas will concentrate control of the sugar supply in the hands of a few large players.