Sugar quotas should expire on 30 September, 2015, the European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, said. At the moment, the quotas cap how much sugar can be produced for the EU’s domestic market.
The EU spent four years since 2006 shrinking its sugar- beet industry to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling limiting exports, turning the EU into a net importer. As a result, Nestlé is among the food companies to complain of a lack of supplies.
The WTO ruling limits EU exports of subsidised sugar to 1.37 million metric tons. Beet growers have been asking to increase the amount of sugar they can ship outside the region, as well as how much can be sold for food use within the bloc.
“With most developing countries enjoying unlimited duty- free access to the EU market, but EU exports limited by WTO rules as long as there are quotas, an end to quotas is the only option for providing the sector with a long-term perspective,” the commission said in the statement today.
The EU began paying sugar factories to shut in 2006 to cut output. Tate & Lyle, after 132 years in the business, sold its EU refineries last year to American Sugar Refining. Danisco, based in Copenhagen, sold its sugar operations in 2009 to Germany’s Nordzucker.
EU sugar production is forecast to exceed 18 million tons this year, up from 15.4 million tons in 2010 and 17.5 million tons in 2009.