The European Commission has tabled a series of measures to try to achieve greater predictability for sugar operators during the next marketing year.

The package fixes a quantitative limit for the exports of out-of-quota sugar (650,000 tonnes) and isoglucose (50,000 tonnes) for the marketing year 2011/12, starting in October.

In addition, it includes the opening of an import quota of 400,000 tonnes for industrial sugar. The Sugar Management Committee said that, with these measures, “sugar operators received a strong signal that it is attractive to grow and produce sugar”.

The proposals were backed by Member States in the Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets, last week.

However, the Committee of European Users of Sugar (CIUS) and the Confederation of EU Yeast Producers (COFALEC) have spoken out, saying they believe the proposals are premature.

CIUS acknowledged that, in the past few months, the European Commission had taken a number of positive steps in response to the problem of very tight supply on the EU market, but said there was no evidence that internal market supply and demand balances would return to equilibrium within the coming months, or during the next marketing year.

“CIUS and COFALEC urge the Sugar Management Committee to reconsider the timing of its proposal to allow out-of-quota sugar exports and, not to make any decisions until EU sugar market supply returns to a sound and fair position.”

Regarding the export of 650,000 tonnes of out-of-quota sugar and 50,000 tonnes of isoglucose, the Commission said the export certificates would be valid as from 1 January 2012, and it would not consider a possible increase of these quantities until the early months of 2012, when more precise estimates of production and available supply would be known.

In February, the Commission tabled a series of exceptional measures to improve supplies for the current marketing year. These included the opening of an import quota of 300,000 tonnes at zero duty and the release of 500,000 tonnes of out-of-quota sugar onto the EU market.

It has now informed Member States that the full quantity of out-of-quota sugar has already been applied for – with 745,087 tonnes applied for from 14-18 March, exceeding the 500,000 tonnes available. This has resulted in the need to adopt an allocation coefficient, said a spokesperson for the Commission. He said that allocation coefficient was 67.1%, which means that, for example, for someone applying for 100 tonnes of sugar, only 67 tonnes would be released.

>>EU envisages possible easing of sugar supply