JIS News

United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Office Minister, Ian Pearson has said that the UK sees good, timely transitional arrangements which are acceptable to all African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries as integral to the reform process for sugar.
We strongly support early decisions on an action plan to give effect to this, so that properly funded, effective and country specific measures can be put in place. Such an action plan should be put together in consultation and dialogue with the countries concerned. We are supporting and assisting the European Commission in this work as we are pressing hard for adequate resources to be made available to finance these measures,” Mr. Pearson said in a speech to the British Caribbean Business Forum in London. He was speaking against the background of the European Union (EU) Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel’s announcement of a 39 per cent cut in the guarantee price paid to European Sugar Producers. The EU system also grants preferential treatment to sugar producers in the African Caribbean Pacific States (ACP), which will also see similar price cuts. EU producers are however being offered a compensation package that will pay them 60 per cent of the subsidies among other measures. The EU is proposing to offer the 18 ACP countries 40 million euros. Executive Chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority of Jamaica, Ambassador Derrick Heaven says this was inadequate as this amount was just about what Jamaican alone would lose under the EU reform plan.
Mr. Pearson told the meeting that he appreciated the concern about sugar and the proposed changes to the sugar regime.”I am aware of the importance of this industry to your economies and therefore of the potential impact of reform on the region. We must also strive for agreement across the board on the new arrangements for bananas. These are difficult issues, but the status quo is not sustainable,” he stated. The Foreign Office Minister also spoke of the strong historical and trading links between the UK and Caribbean and ways of further enhancing these ties. Mr Pearson said total two-way trade last year was in the region of