Jamaica joins ACP sugar producers meet in London


Executive Chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority of Jamaica, Ambassador Derrick Heaven, says Monday’s (November 29th) meeting of the London Sugar Group successfully strengthened the collaboration within the group, which is seeking to influence European Governments and the European Union (EU).
The London Sugar Group represents the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and Least Develop Countries (LDC) sugar industries which supply the European Union. The meeting was held at the Jamaican High Commission in London, ahead of the start of a series of meetings of the International Sugar Organization, this week.
“We continue to rely on the EU markets as the most important export market for our sugar. The need to collaborate with other countries, that export (to the EU) under the same terms and conditions, to protect our interest is paramount. We looked at just how we are going to influence Brussels to live up to their obligations to us, which sometimes can get lost if we are not careful,” Mr. Heaven said.
The EU and the ACP have negotiated market access arrangements specific to sugar, under the new regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) which run from October 2009 to September 2015.
The ACP Sugar Group established an EPA-EBA London Sugar Group two years ago, to develop a coherent single voice, at the industry level, and to provide support for diplomatic representation in Brussels on key sugar issues.
Chairman of the Sugar Group, Barry Newton, said the group, made up of some 29 sugar producing countries, was concerned that the EU was currently engaged in discussions on the next phase of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform process. He said these discussions could affect the Group, after 2015.
He said the Sugar Group was keen to ensure that key items dealing with prices and access were protected.
“We are concerned as to how we protect some of the key items we have already negotiated, in principle, within the EPA”, Mr. Newton said.
The reforms of the EU sugar regime took place in 2005/2006, and saw a gradual reduction in the price paid for sugar by 36 percent by October 2009.

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