The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP


Media release

Friday, 11 October 2002 - MVT125/2002

EU Claims on Sugar Challenge Wrong: Vaile

Claims by European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy that Australia's World Trade Organisation challenge to EU sugar exports would hurt poor sugar exporting countries are wrong, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said today.

"Mr Lamy has been quoted as saying that Australia and Brazil's WTO challenges 'would hurt mainly poor sugar exporters', but this is not the case," Mr Vaile said.

"Australia has no intention of challenging preferential sugar import access, or to displace African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) or Indian sugar in the EU market."

"Australia and Brazil are challenging the level of subsidies on exports of EU sugar which is depressing world prices to the detriment of all sugar producers. EU export subsidies are damaging the interests of many developing country exporters, which are reliant on the world market price.

"A recent Oxfam report highlights the issues being faced by developing countries, which rely on world market prices as a result of the EU sugar regime, and has welcomed Australia and Brazil's WTO challenge.

"Despite being one of the world's highest cost producers of sugar, the EU is the world's largest exporter of sugar accounting for 40 per cent of world exports in 2001.

"The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics estimates if the EU paid its sugar farmers at world market prices, there would be an almost 20 per cent rise in the world market price. This would benefit all sugar industries in both developed and developing countries.

Mr Vaile said the WTO action by Australia and Brazil would not affect the current preferential access arrangements to the EU market that the EU gave to ACP countries and India under the Cotonou Agreement.

"The Cotonou Agreement is discrete and self-contained and Australia sees no reason why the EU should not honour its commitments."

Media Contact: Mark Croxford +61 02 6277 7420

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:00:53 EST

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