CIBE POSITION: EU AGRI COUNCIL TO DISCUSS TRADE-RELATED ISSUES
CIBE CALL TO THE AGRI COUNCIL
Brussels, 6 November 2017
Ahead of the next Agri Council on 6th November, where the state of play of trade-related agricultural issues will be discussed, CIBE would like to reiterate its serious concerns vis-à-vis the ongoing negotiations with Mercosur and Mexico and vis-à-vis the upcoming negotiations with Australia.
European sugar beet growers consider that sugar market access concessions to Mercosur, Mexico and Australia should be excluded for the following reasons:
- The non-level playing field for EU sugar compared with sugar produced in these leading sugar exporting countries, because of their sugar policies which include various supports, subsidies, cross-benefits and state programs aiming at consistently expanding their sugar sector;
- The increasing gap between the EU standards for beet cultivation and the standards in these countries, which puts at risk the future competitiveness of EU sugar;
- The fact that the EU does not need to import more sugar, in particular in the context of the abolition of sugar quotas and downward trend of EU sugar consumption;
- The fact that these countries already have access to the EU sugar market, in the form of specific or “erga omnes” TRQs;
- The detrimental cumulative impact of any future sugar concessions which would jeopardize the sustainability of the EU sugar sector, taking into consideration the concessions already granted in FTAs concluded with 25 third partners, in addition to all ACP and LDC countries which already benefit from duty-free and quota-free access!
- The impact of Brexit on beet sugar sector of the EU-27;
- The inconsistency of additional concessions vis-à-vis preferential partners, in particular ACP and LDC countries.
The EU sugar beet sector could not sustain constantly further concessions granted to more third countries. The EU sugar market is not intended to become a market for third countries’ constant surplus. This would be extremely damaging for our EU beet sugar industry, in particular as no specific access for EU sugar has been concluded and no access for EU sugar is envisaged in ongoing negotiations.
We urge the EU Institutions to stop considering the EU beet sugar sector as a bargaining chip in all the EU’s trade negotiations and to assess the overall consequences of the current stance on sugar by the EU Commission in its negotiating strategy.