NFU Sugar welcomes the UK government’s decision not to expand the ATQ (Autonomous Tariff Quota) for raw cane sugar

NFU Sugar
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
NFU Sugar has welcomed the government’s decision not to expand the ATQ (Autonomous Tariff Quota) for raw cane sugar following a snap consultation in September. Introduced in 2021, the ATQ allows tariff-free access for 260,000t of raw cane sugar into the UK from anywhere in the world. The NFU responded to September’s extremely short (two-week) government consultation, rejecting the concept that expansion of the ATQ might reduce current high sugar prices and so help alleviate inflationary pressure on the cost of a basket of consumer goods. It also met with Defra, the Department for Business and Trade, and Treasury officials. On 15 November, the government announced that it would not be expanding the ATQ for the remainder of 2023. Since the introduction of the ATQ however, imports of raw cane sugar from ACP/LDC producers have fallen year-on-year, contracting by a total of 73%, while during the same period imports from Brazil have increased by 206%. Just 16,000t of raw sugar for refining has been imported from ACP/LDC countries with duty-free and tariff-free access in 2023 according to HMRC data, suggesting a near complete displacement of these traditional suppliers with world market raw sugar. The raw sugar cane ATQ, regardless of its size, constitutes a tangible exclusion of the developing economies the UK Government claims it is committed to supporting.
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