Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

European Union sugar reform

8 December 2005

European Union sugar reform

Small developing nations will need help to deal with proposed changes to the European Union's sugar sector, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton welcomed the European Union's agreement last week to reform its highly distorted sugar sector.

"The EU has demonstrated real commitment to reforming its "Common Agriculture Policy" over the last few years. Sugar is a necessary and important part of that story."

The EU sugar market is highly distorted, shielded from world markets by prohibitive tariffs and with guaranteed prices around three times the world price. The agreed reforms include lowering the EU price for sugar by 36 percent over four years. This has not been an easy decision for many EU countries and some will face adjustment. But it has long been needed and the reforms should assist the EU to accept the rapid elimination of its export subsidies, which they use to dump surplus product on world markets.

Mr Sutton cautioned, however, that the reform process was complex.

"Substantial reform of all trade distortions is critical to global prosperity, but we need to be sure that the process is managed to minimise negative impacts on small vulnerable developing countries."

The EU has long offered African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) sugar producers preferential access to its high-priced market. While this has delivered economic benefits to many ? including Pacific neighbours such as Fiji ? it has also meant that they have become highly dependent on the inflated EU market. The lower EU sugar price will mean a considerable reduction in their revenues from that market.

Mr Sutton said it was understandable that small ACP countries feel vulnerable.

"Commonwealth Heads of Government, including the Prime Minister, met recently in Malta and highlighted concerns if this process is not managed carefully. They urged the EU to provide transitional financial arrangements and other compensation."

The Prime Minister also reflected these concerns in her discussions in Brussels last week and asked the European Union to reconsider its proposed level of assistance.

Mr Sutton said Fiji and others would need help to adjust to the impact of reduced prices.

"These countries will need to think about diversification, value-adding and other ways to ease the transition with the assistance of the EU and other development partners. In the case of Fiji, New Zealand may be able to help the government to address some of the social implications of this adjustment."

He noted that the agricultural trade reforms under negotiation in the WTO Doha Round would also deliver significant benefits to many developing countries.

Mr Sutton said it was important to work through the ACP sugar issue.

"We would not want this issue to distract from the Doha Round negotiations. An ambitious outcome on agriculture there will provide developing countries with an excellent platform for sustainable economic growth into the future."

WTO Ministers, including Mr Sutton and Trade Minister Phil Goff, are scheduled to meet in Hong Kong from 13 to 18 December to take stock of progress in the negotiations and consider a work programme for concluding the Round at the end of next year. Reforms in agriculture, including domestic support, export subsidies and market access, are at the heart of the Doha Development Agenda.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Why We’re Not Getting An Inquiry Into The White Island Disaster

The Ardern government has made an art form out of reviews and inquiries- when to hold them, when to fold them, and when to shelve the findings, virtually untouched. Among other things, the WorkSafe criminal proceedings into the Whakaari /White Island disaster look like the outcome of a conscious political strategy. The government is choosing this route instead holding a proper inquiry, because it can conveniently narrow the focus only to (a) the events prior to the eruption and (b) solely to possible violations of our labour laws... More>>

 

UN SDG: A Greener, Cleaner, Brighter Future

'The world has a high fever and is burning up. Climate disruption is daily news – from devastating wildfires to record floods. The damage to people and the environment is immense and growing.' - UN Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

ALSO:

Carbon Neutral Policy: Gov Declares Climate Emergency

The Government has launched a major new initiative to combat climate change that will require the public sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. More>>

ALSO:

Pill Testing: Govt Moves On Drug Checking To Keep Young New Zealanders Safer This Summer

The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little ... More>>

ALSO:

Tax: Government Fulfils Election Undertaking On New Top Tax Rate

The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. More>>

ALSO:

Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels