JIS News

Member of the European Union (EU) Parliament, Glenys Kinnock has said that if the current reforms being sought by the EU are imposed on developing sugar-producing countries, this would result in a reduction of resources of more than $400 million in the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) states, and a loss of more than $100 million to CARICOM countries.
Mrs. Kinnock argued that the proposed EU reforms could “destroy not only the [sugar] industry itself, but the fabric of the society and the communities where the industry exists,” within ACP states.
She was speaking last night (Oct. 18) at a dinner hosted by President of the Sugar Industry Authority of Jamaica, Ambassador Derrick Heaven. The event was also attended by six members of a delegation of the Joint Assembly of ACP/EU Parliament.
Speaking further on the matter, the EU Member of Parliament said, “what you [Jamaica] have is, I think, a sense that a fundamental injustice is being committed in the shape of this reform.and there is a kind of idea here, in Guyana, and other places too, that there is a kind loss of faith in what Europe is doing at this time.”
She explained that whilst Jamaica opted for long-term stability and predictability instead of short-term gains in its negotiations for the present sugar protocol, the island could not have foreseen facing the drastic price reductions it now does.
“You certainly did not anticipate that you would end up where you are today,” Mrs. Kinnock said, adding that while Jamaica had initially welcomed reforms, “you did not expect that the EU would take away from the poor to give to the poorest.”
Regarding future negotiations with the European Union on sugar-related issues, Mrs. Kinnock pointed out that Jamaica, as a member state of the ACP, in fact, had a certain degree of bargaining clout.
With the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference scheduled for Hong Kong in December, where the market access of developing countries for commodities such as sugar will be an integral point of discussion, Mrs. Kinnock advised that “you [Jamaica] do have enormous power, collectively in the ACP, leading up to the Ministerial meeting.”
She said in previous Ministerial meetings, the ACP had lobbied together, to receive waivers, and also argued and gotten substantial support for West African cotton producers. “So you can make sugar a litmus test in Hong Kong. It is important and I do think that other developing countries will line up with you,” she said.