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ACP countries warn EU over sugar quota abolition


18:59, June 27, 2013

LUSAKA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Group, which includes Zambia, has warned the European Union (EU) of market instability if the proposal to bring forward the abolishing of sugar quotas to 2015 instead of the year 2020 was effected, the Times of Zambia reported on Thursday.

The proposal, expected to be decided upon this week, has unsettled the ACP Group which has since appealed over the matter as high level negotiations on the EU agricultural policy draw to a close in Belgium this week, according to Times.

Mauritian Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security Satya Faugoo said in a statement issued on behalf of ACP sugar producing countries that the EU should give ACP countries adequate time to restructure sugar industries so that they can become more competitive by 2020.

He said ACP countries would face an acute risk to their developing countries if the proposal to abolish EU sugar quotas in 2015 rather than 2020 was passed. "Such a decision would demonstrate greater coherence between trade, development and agriculture," he was quoted as saying by the paper.

The ACP countries have further expressed concern at the lack of clarity from the EU on what market tools would replace the quota system in regulating the market and safeguarding public interests. Studies estimate a loss of 850 million euros in revenue up to 2020 for ACP members, which include five of the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the absence of quotas. According to the statement, ACP members are seeking a five-year extension of the current regime to complete action plans jointly agreed with the EU for modernization, diversification and efficiency improvements.

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