The ACP/LDC Sugar Suppliers to the EU express deep disappointment with the EU Agriculture Council’s proposal to extend the Single Common Market Organisation for sugar by only two years to 2017 instead of 2020 as agreed by the European Parliament. In so doing the ACP/LDC countries join European Sugar Manufacturers Association (CEFS) and the European Beet Growers Federation (CIBE). The Council proposal ignores representations made by the ACP/LDC sugar suppliers to emphasise to key Member States and the European Commission the crucial importance of the sugar industry to their economies and social fabric. The Council compromise overlooks the impact of its domestic CAP proposals on the trade and developmental interests of its developing country partners and the specific commitment in the Lisbon Treaty to ensure EU Policy Coherence. In this context the ACP /LDC countries feel obliged to remind Council of the principles underpinned by Cotonou, the Economic Partnership Agreements and the Everything but Arms Initiative which were intended to protect the EU’s small and vulnerable trading partners. The Council’s mandate is tantamount to treating the ACP/LDC as residual players to be considered solely as collateral damage in a political compromise.

The ACP/LDC Group seeks the extension of the EU sugar regime until 2020 to allow its sugar industries to complete the Action Plans agreed with the EU for the modernization, diversification and efficiency improvements on which ACP/LDC countries have already committed considerable funds. This programme to prepare the ACP/LDC suppliers for greater market liberalisation is already jeopardised by the slower than anticipated disbursement of the EU’s Accompanying Measures Sugar support programme and now risks irreparable damage unless more time is allowed.

EU ministers did not take account of the development dimension agreed between the EU and ACP States under the Economic Partnership Agreements and Everything But Arms Initiative,” said the ACP Sugar Sub Committee Chairman Ambassador Gomes after the Council’s announcement. “It is disappointing that no consideration was given to the ACP and LDC sugar suppliers who have been an integral and consistent supply source of the European sugar market for over 50 years

The ACP Sugar Group will continue with its representational efforts with likeminded stakeholders to convince the decision makers in the forthcoming inter-institutional discussions for the prolongation of the sugar provisions at least to 30th September 2020.

Brussels, 21 March 2013