EU sugar quota reform: 2015 v 2020? Is it time to give sugar beet a caning?

On the day 27 associations issued a joint open letter imploring the EU to keep to its word and scrap widely despised sugar quotas across the bloc in 2015 – not 2020 as the sugar industry wants – Tate & Lyle Sugars jumped into the debate by saying neither plan would fix a “dysfunctional” market.

An article written by Shane Starling for Food on 28th February, highlights the political and industry tensions between supporting European grown (mostly beet) sugar and cane based sugar produced across a number of mostly developing countries in hotter climates.

The full article can be found at:


The debate stimulated by large industrial consumers of sugar is that open market access across Europe would reduce prices and enable lower eventual prices for processed foods to the consumer. The WTO supports the option of access to the European markets for developing country sugars to help improve their economic growth prospects. European farmers are very unhappy at the prospect of losing both the potential for a minimum price being maintained (the European Sugar regime dates back to around 1968), and the sugar manufacturers in Europe are largely unhappy at destroying a regulated market they see as underpinning their ability to make money in the face of poorer quality world traded sugar of less determined quality.

Whereas a free market offers competition, more of a ;Darwinian’ nature, is Europe happy to potentially give away the carefully constructed ability to feed its own population – one of the key underpinnings of economic harmonisation since World War II?




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