During negotiations of the reforms the UK Government argued for a fair and balanced outcome for all parts of the sugar industry. Disappointingly, there was insufficient support from other Member States to secure the necessary changes on imports to allow the cane sector to compete on a level playing field with the beet sector. However, we remain committed to working with the European Commission to address this issue through forthcoming EU trade agreements and other measures as required.
As part of this strategy, Defra Ministers pressed the EU Agriculture Commissioner to prioritise sugar imports as part of the recent EU negotiations with South Africa. Those negotiations have now completed and include enhanced market access for sugar imports which we expect to be available when the trade deal is signed and ratified next year. The UK also supports duty free and quota free (DFQF) imports of sugar from Least Developed Countries (LDC) through the EU’s Everything But Arms scheme and from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which have signed Economic Partnership Agreements. Continued access to DFQF sugar from Fiji was secured last year through application of their trade deal with the EU. The UK will continue to support ACP and LDC countries to maintain their preferences into the EU market until the sector is fully liberalised.