A Commission initiative to release 500.000 tonnes of out of quota sugar* onto the EU market has been backed by Member States in the Management Committee yesterday, and the Commission has also made clear its intention to open an import quota for 300.000 tonnes of raw or refined sugar at zero duty in early March.
These measures come in response to the current exceptional market circumstances which see the EU sugar market in deficit and world market prices above average EU levels.
Licences for the "out of quota" sugar will be released based on weekly applications, but with a 500 €/t penalty applicable if the volumes are not filled. The import quota, open to all third countries ["erga omnes"], will be managed on a monthly basis.
The Commission will continue to monitor the EU supply situation and propose additional import quotas later in the marketing year, if appropriate.
Speaking after the Management Committee vote, Dacian Cioloș, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, stated: "In a context of high world prices and tight supplies, these measures will help to ease the situation by making more sugar available on the EU market. This move builds on my commitment of October 2010 to take exceptional measures should the market situation make them necessary."
* This quantity is sugar produced in the EU above the permitted quota amounts, which would otherwise have been kept in store and counted against next year's quotas or, within certain limits set by the Commission, exported onto the world market.