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Big Vote - CAP Reform

EU sugar quotas extended to 2020

By Oliver Nieburg+

13-Mar-2013
Last updated the 13-Mar-2013 at 14:50 GMT

The vote was cast in European Parliament today
The vote was cast in European Parliament today

EU sugar quotas will remain in place in Europe until 2020 after a vote on Common Agricultural Policy reforms (CAP) in European Parliament today.

The EU has had a production quota on sugar beet averaging 13.3m metric tons (MT) per annum since 2010.

European Sugar Users, said it was "deeply concerned about the short-sighted and unbalanced position the European Parliament adopted today".

“At a time when the European economy desperately needs clear policy decisions towards competitiveness and more jobs and growth, maintaining the disruptive sugar quotas until 2020 and potentially beyond is the wrong signal,” said Muriel Korter, Secretary General of the European Sugar Users association CIUS.

"Today we went backwards”

“This vote does not give us confidence that the European Parliament understands its key responsibility to promote a modern, competitive agricultural sector and food supply chain in Europe,” Korter continued. “Today’s vote brings the EU back to outdated, protectionist policies of the past, which distort the market and jeopardize security of supply for the entire food chain.”

“The CAP reform must be a real reform. Today we went backwards,” Korter concluded.

Industry associations such as European Sugar Users (CIUS) and EU confectionery association Caobisco had lobbied the European Parliament to end sugar quotas at the earliest opportunity in 2015, claiming the quotas fell below market demand leading to inflated prices, scarce supplies, job losses and bankruptcies.

Last month, the EP’s Agriculture Committee voted for EU sugar quotas to be extended until 2020. See HERE.

Views on quota system

Independent French think tank, Institut Choiseul, recently released a report that said EU confectioners were suffering and called for quotas to be abolished at the earliest opportunity.

Leonardo Bichara Rocha, senior economist at the International Sugar Organization, recently told this site that even if the sugar quotas run until 2020 there will be enough sugar on the EU market for the next seven years. See HERE.

Procurement heads for Mondelēz International   and Nestlé   have said that the quotas are causing significant supply constraints leading to sky-high prices.

Special measures

To ease supply shortages, the EU has previously introduced special measures such as the action announced in December last year to release 1.2m metric tons of additional sugar onto the EU market

Robert Guichard, sweeteners procurement manager at Mondelez International and president of CIUS previously told this site that the measures were not special, as they were happening every year, and did not do enough to ease supply constraints.

Some sugar growers and groups like ASSUC (European Association of Sugar Traders) argue that abolishing the quotas will concentrate control of the sugar supply in the hands of a few large players.

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