Exceptional measures to alleviate tension in the EU sugar market are not appropriate - Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski

European Parliament
Friday, January 27, 2023
In response to a European Parliamentary question concerning the “tense sugar market in 2022/2023”, the Agriculture Commissioner Mr Janusz Wojciechowski said on 27 January 2023 that it “is currently not considered appropriate to introduce an exceptional measure like the opening of additional tariff quotas”. Members of the European Parliament Peter Jahr (PPE) and Marlene Mortler (PPE) said that food producers are reporting existential challenges as markets face a critical situation, with extreme price hikes for sugar, glucose, dextrose and starch being a particular source of concern. In addition, high energy prices are driving an increased demand for bioenergy, they said. The MEPs noted the Commission outlook for 2022/2023 forecasts a reduction in sugar production of more than one million tonnes. The decline in production is offset by a reduced demand for sugar for food and reduced exports of sugar-containing foods. “What action does the Commission intend to take in order to curb supply-driven inflation, especially for white sugar, glucose, dextrose and starch?”, and “to what extent does energy recovery affect the sugar market and sugar market prices?”, the MEPs asked. Commissioner Wojciechowski replied that measures to reduce energy demand, ensure alternative supplies and accelerate the rollout of renewables will have a direct or indirect positive impact on the sugar market, as well as other factors such as domestic supply/demand, imports, world prices, etc. He also said that any potential tightness on the domestic market can be addressed by existing preferential access, including from Ukraine, and hence it is currently not considered appropriate to introduce an exceptional measure like the opening of additional tariff quotas. Commissioner Wojchiechowski assured the MEPs that the Commission is, “very closely monitoring the evolution of all key parameters linked to the evolution of the EU sugar market in view of a timely detection of any risk of disturbance in the market”.
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