Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Food and Drink Federation (O34)

  FDF welcomes the Commission's Consultation document on the future of the EU Sugar Regime as a good basis for discussion. The UK food and drink manufacturing industry believes that reform of the Sugar Regime is inevitable but that it is in the UK's overall economic interest to ensure the effective management of the reform. Any plans must therefore take account, as far as possible, of the legitimate interests of UK industry stakeholders.

  Factors to bear in mind in formulating any plans include:

    —  timing: a clear timeframe needs to be established which gives sugar producers time to adjust but which moves quickly enough to influence positively manufacturing, investment and employment levels in the UK;

    —  effects of implementation of the "Everything But Arms" arrangements for LDCs (including some sugar producing ACP countries) from 2006;

    —  possible use of the Cotonou Agreement, due for renewal in 2008, to adopt support measures to help ACP countries adapt to a more market oriented global environment for sugar;

    —  encouragement, particularly through sufficient cuts in biofuel duty, of the production of biofuels, and bioethanol in particular, as a non-food alternative for UK agriculture, in line with the Government's Sustainable Food and Farming Strategy; and

    —  establishment of a system to allow the transfer of member state quotas and an equitable supply entitlement for the UK refiner during the change period, bearing in mind that sugar production in the UK has greater viability than in most other EU Member States.

29 March 2004

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