Proposals to increase out-of-quota exports of sugar by 700,000 tonnes, up to the World Trade Organisation limit of 1.35mts, have been voted through by the European Commission’s Management Committee.

New licences for the additional export quota will be available from 1 December.

They have also agreed proposals to enable operators to release up to 400,000t of out-of-quota sugar onto the internal market, with a maximum bid of 50,000t per operator per application period, against the payment of a levy of E85/t (the usual levy would be E500/t).

A Commission spokesman said: "As our primary aim is to ensure the EU market is well supplied, these proposals are designed as the most efficient measures to secure additional quantities for the domestic market by both facilitating imports and taking advantage of the abundance of the out-of-quota harvest within the EU."