European Parliament adopts imbalanced measures for sugar sector
Brussels, 14 March 2013 – ESRA (The European Sugar Refiners Association) regrets the European Parliament plenary adopted a text to reform the Single CMO Regulation that would irreversibly harm an important player of the EU sugar market: cane refiners. While the Parliament agreed the extension of sugar quotas until 2020 securing raw material for beet producers, it ignored the need to introduce parallel measures to secure access to raw material for cane refiners.
“Extending the sugar regime without including structural measures to guarantee sufficient raw sugar imports will continue to undermine the EU sugar market competitiveness and affect prices”, said Mr Pereira, President of the European Sugar Refiners Association.
During the past few years, and despite beet and isoglucose quotas being fulfilled every year, the EU market still needed emergency measures to ensure sufficient sugar supply in the internal market. ESRA regrets the Parliament failed to acknowledge the supply shortages the EU market has recently suffered clearly indicate the need for structural measures to ensure a sufficient raw sugar imports. Undoubtedly, the implementation of such structural measures would contribute to the overall stability of the market and provide the necessary predictability to all operators.
However, the text adopted by the Parliament plenary does not contain any mechanism whatsoever to ensure that any fix quantity of raw sugar will actually be imported. Not the 3.1 million tonnes as requested by ESRA or any other volume.
Instead, full-time-refiners will continue to only have a limited priority access to raw sugar imports that in no way guarantees by itself any fixed quantity. A limited priority access of 3 months cannot be considered a privilege of any sort, given the fact they can only refine cane sugar and this is the only source of raw material. An extended priority access to 6 months would only in part mitigate the disadvantage the cane refiners face when competing for the same raw material with other sugar producers, which at the same time process beet.
Cane refiners are crucial in bringing competition in a European market otherwise dominated by beet sugar processors. Yet the lack of supply guarantees in either the European Commission or the European Parliament proposals is jeopardising the future of the refining sector across Europe and consequently the future of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, the sugar price stability and the sustainability of the sugar sector in general.
Whilst disappointed with the outcome, ESRA hopes Parliamentary negotiators recognise the significant cross party group, multi-Member State support for refiners’ amendments during the upcoming negotiations with the European Council and Commission.
ESRA calls now upon the European Council to consider measures that foster competition and ensure fair access to raw material for all in the reform of the sugar market. Refiners, users, and consumers deserve it.
Contact: Laura Girol, ESRA’s Executive Director laura.girol [at] sugarrefineries.eu +32 (0)484 915 433