Brussels, 25 March 2011
Commission tables measures to ensure market balance in the sugar sector
The Commission has tabled yesterday a series of measures intended to provide sugar operators in the EU with predictability for the next marketing year starting from October 2011. The package fixes a quantitative limit for the exports of out-of-quota sugar (650 000 tonnes) and isoglucose (50 000 tonnes) for the marketing year 2011/12. It also includes the opening of an import quota of 400 000 tonnes for industrial sugar. With these measures, sugar operators received a strong signal that it is attractive to grow and produce sugar. The proposals were backed by Member States yesterday in the Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets, which delivered a positive opinion.
As regards the exports of out-of-quota sugar (650 000 tonnes) and isoglucose (50 000 tonnes) for the marketing year 2011/12, the export certificates will be valid as from 1 January 2012. The Commission will not consider the possible increase of these quantities until the early months of 2012 where more precise estimates of production and available supply would be known.
Regarding the current marketing year, world market prices for both raw and white sugar have been exceptionally high since the beginning of the year. This situation has affected the EU market with reported high prices.
Confronted with a situation of tightness of the EU sugar market, over the last few weeks the Commission tabled a series of exceptional measures to improve supplies during the current marketing year (2010/11). These included the opening of an import quota of 300 000 tonnes at zero duty and the release of 500 000 tonnes of out-of-quota sugar and 26 000 tonnes of out-of-quota isoglucose onto the EU market. For the latter, the Commission informed Member States that the full quantities have already been applied for. This combined additional supply of 0.8 million tonnes will arrive in the next few months to contribute to ease price pressures. In case that, later in the marketing year, updated and robust evidence would show the need for further action, the Commission would consider additional measures including the increase of the import quota.
Finally, the Commission announced its intention of securing a close follow-up of developments in the sugar market. If the same market conditions would arise during the next marketing year, the Commission would be ready to adopt exceptional measures similar to the ones implemented during the present marketing year with the view to secure the adequate supply of the EU market.