The European Union may import as much as 500,000 metric tons of sugar under a tender system approved last month, according to the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.
“If the market determines, we could go up to 500,000 tons, but that will depend on imports from APC and EBA,” Lars Hoelgaard, the commission’s deputy director-general of agriculture and rural development, said today in an interview at a conference in Brussels. “It could be anything between zero and 500,000 tons.”
The EU last month allowed additional duty-free imports of 200,000 tons of sugar and backed a proposal for more shipments via tenders at reduced tax to increase supplies after raw sugar reached a 30-year high in February in New York. Prices were higher on international markets than in the EU, prompting some exporters that usually ship to the bloc to deliver elsewhere.
“The EU balance sheet shows we expect rather low stocks at the end of the season,” Hoelgaard said.
APC denotes the countries, ranging from Angola to Zimbabwe, that belong to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and are permitted to export some sugar to the EU free of duty. EBA refers to the 49 nations, including Bangladesh and Uganda, that also enjoy preferential access under the Everything But Arms initiative.