TWN Info Service
on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar10/15)
EU urged to provide
information on its sugar exports
Geneva, 19 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- Australia, Brazil and Thailand, major sugar producers and exporters, on Friday urged the European Union to provide the necessary technical information underpinning its decision to export an additional 500,000 tonnes of out-of-quota sugar.
The call came at a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization.
Recalling that the EU had recently offered to provide the necessary technical information, the three countries said that the EU was yet to provide any such information.
At the beginning of
the DSB meeting, Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah of
On 28 January, the EU announced a decision to increase its out-of-quota sugar exports by half a million tonnes. It argued that this "temporary measure", which it claimed, fully respects the EU's international obligations, was made possible by the "exceptional market conditions" at both the EU and world level.
In a press release and subsequent press conference on 1 February, the three countries had expressed concern that the increase in out-of-quota exports by 500,000 tonnes means that the total out-of-quota sugar exports by the EU may reach 1,850,000 tonnes in marketing year 2009/2010.
This amount would be 576,500 tonnes over the 1,273,500 tonne ceiling that is the EU's commitment under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, they complained. (See SUNS #6855 dated 3 February 2010.)
In a joint statement
at the DSB on Friday,
The statements had expressed concern at the recent decision of the EU to export out-of-quota sugar in excess of its annual scheduled quantity commitment level of 1.2735 million tonnes.
By signaling to EU
sugar producers that excess out-of-quota sugar can be exported, the
EU risks a continuous cycle of over-production and artificially depressed
global prices, unwinding the important reforms undertaken by the EU
following the EC-sugar dispute findings, said
In its statement, the EU said that at the previous meeting of the DSB, it had already highlighted that its decision to export 0.5 million tonnes of sugar was a temporary measure, adopted in view of the exceptional market conditions at both the EU and world level.
In this respect, it pointed to world prices being at a record high level creating what it viewed as a shortage of sugar which affected importing developing countries.
"We do not expect these market conditions to last beyond the season 2009-2010. The export of 0.5 million tonnes is now exhausted," said the EU, adding that it has not renewed the temporary decision.
The EU again claimed that the decision respects its international obligations, in that the quantities on sale are not subsidized and happened at a time when world sugar prices were higher than EU production costs and EU producers have become much more competitive following the drastic overhaul of the EU Common Market Organization for sugar.
The EU reiterated its insistence on its right to engage in international trade - even if competing exporters of other WTO Members would, for rather obvious reasons of commercial interest, prefer otherwise.
The EU further voiced its readiness to continue a dialogue regarding the background underpinning what it called its temporary decision to export sugar.
In other actions, in a status report on its implementation of the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in a dispute brought by the US against Chinese measures affecting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, China informed the DSB that the Decision of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People's Congress on Amending the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China was adopted on 26 February 2010.
(The reasonable period of time for implementation expires on 20 March 2010.)
In a communication
to the DSB,
In its statement,
By doing these,
In its statement, the
It looked forward to
further discussions with
With respect to
In an intervention,
the EU took note of
With regard to the legislative proposals on customs measures on which China is working, and given the expiry on 20 March of the reasonable period of time (for implementation of the recommendations and rulings of the DSB), the EU said that it would be interested in any further information that China may be able to provide regarding the timing for adoption. +