acp= african, caribbean, pacific
EC adopting measures intended to kill Sugar Protocol

Meeting With ACP Sugar Ministers Scheduled for Friday Sept. 14
Date: FRIDAY 14th September 2007
Press Conference
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 pm
Venue: IPC Centre Brussels, Passage Room, Rue de la Loi 155, Bloc C, 1040 Brussels

The ACP Ministers representing the signatory States to the ACP-EU Sugar
Protocol have convened a special ACP Ministerial Consultations on Sugar in
Brussels to deliberate on the EC's market access offer to ACP States under
EPAs and its decision to denounce the Sugar Protocol.

Head Table at International Press Conference

Chairman: Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Guyana ,
the Hon. Lionel Jeffries

ACP Ministerial Spokesperson for Sugar and Minister of Agro Industry &
Fisheries , Mauritius : The Hon. Arvin Boolell

Minister for Finance, National. Planning, Public Enterprise and Sugar
Industry , Fiji , The Hon. Mahendra Chaudhry

Filling in for the Minister of Trade of Swaziland , Principal Secretary Mr.
Clifford Mamba

Ambassador of Guyana , Brussels , H.E. Mr. Patrick I. Gomes

Out-going Chairman of the ACP Consultative Group on Sugar, H.E. Mr. George

In the 4 April, 2007 offer on duty-free quota-free to ACP States under the
future EPAs the EC is not honouring its legal and political obligation. The
EC claims that EPAs are to be development tools. The Sugar Protocol is par
excellence, a model North-South trade agreement with a strong development
dimension. No WTO member has challenged the Sugar Protocol which has stood
the test of time and is an example of integration, of production and
processing (value addition) between the ACP suppliers and EC processors. It
is a win-win collaboration of mutual interest to safeguard the benefits of
the Sugar Protocol. The S.P is a long standing inter-governmental agreement.

The EC's intention to denounce the Sugar Protocol is totally out of
proportion and is not borne out of any juridical security. Coming soon
after its April, 2007 market access offer, this decision is borne out as a
hidden agenda to use the EPA to kill such a model arrangement.

For some time now the EC seems to be adopting, in a systemic manner,
measures aimed at slowly killing the Sugar Protocol. In this respect, the
proposals by the Commission are such that, the ACP Sugar Protocol countries
are being made to pay the price. Furthermore, it should be recalled that
with the introduction of the EBA initiative, which simply transferred the
quantities under Special Preferential Sugar quantities from non-LDC ACP
Sugar Protocol countries to LDCs, without EU providing any additional
quantity, the ACP SP countries had to endure immediate direct losses in
terms of revenue.

Similarly, under the reform of the EU Sugar Regime, the ACP took the brunt
of the first sugar price cut which essentially removed the refining margin
which was previously included in the ACP guaranteed price while the EC sugar
beet producers and OCTs producers are guaranteed hefty direct support, the
ACP is being offered the bare minimum price. Now under the EC offer on
market access under EPA, the Sugar Protocol countries are again being made
to pay a heavy price.

In making the offer, the EC essentially

Reneges on the undertakings and provisions of the Sugar Protocol 1
Reneges on the undertakings under Article 36.4 of the Cotonou Agreement for
a joint review of the Sugar Protocol and the safeguarding of the benefits
derived there from bearing in mind its special legal status. The Commission
threatens to unilaterally denounce the Sugar Protocol if the ACP do not
agree to jointly renounce it
Reneges on the specific context and rationale of the language mutually
agreed for cogent reasons in the Sugar Protocol and Article 36.4 of the
Cotonou Agreement.
Removes the fundamental premise of predictability of the price regime during
the life span of the new Sugar Regime ending on 30th September 2015, which
underpins the successful implementation of the respective ACP Multi Annual
Adaptation Strategies (MAAS) in violation of Article 30 of the EC sugar
regime. It thus introduces uncertainty to banks, investors and the EIB who
are to underwrite the costly investments under the respective ACP MAAS and
undermines their implementation. 2
In contrast to the overriding objectives of the EPA negotiations to improve
on the current market access situation, building on the acquis and ensuring
that no ACP state is worse off, the EU offer aims at substituting the SP
acquis for a significantly worse trade off. In reality, the vaunted
improved market access contained in the EU offer is on a piece of elastic as
far as the non LDC SP countries are concerned.3
Instead of safeguarding its benefits, the EU offer dismantles the benefits
of the Sugar Protocol, which inter alia include
� its special legal status and provisions

� guaranteed access of individual country agreed quantities

� guaranteed price negotiated annually within the price range obtaining
in the EC, taking into account all relevant economic factors

� exemption from the safeguard clause of Lome/Cotonou

� Obligation of the EC to buy agreed quantities as the buyer of last

� Indefinite duration of the Sugar protocol irrespective of the life of
Lome/Cotonou and

� The EC Declaration on Article 10 of the Sugar Protocol that the
possibility of the denunciation under the conditions set out in that Article
is for the purpose of juridical security and not representing any
qualification or limitation of the principles enunciated in Article 1 of
that Protocol (EC undertaking for an indefinite duration to purchase and
import at guaranteed prices agreed quantities of raw or white sugar
originating in the SP countries)

The EU is yet to explain why they consider the Sugar Protocol, which
transposes sugar supply arrangements between the ACP and the Community from
the CSA in 1953 to the present day as being incompatible with WTO Rules, the
more so as the WTO panel on EU export subsidies on sugar exhorted the EU to
honour its long standing sugar obligations towards the ACP and India and the
European Community have a separate stand alone agreement on sugar identical
to the Sugar Protocol.
There is no legal basis to denounce the S.P, it is only a political decision
by the EC.
For more information, please contact:

Nidhen Singh, Chairman, ACP Sugar Working Group
Tel: 02 73 9050(Office) - GSM 047536 92 65

Mr Abdourakhmane SAMB, Chief of Protocol & Public Relations, ACP
SecretariatTel: 02 743 0611 (Office) - GSM 0476 98 5689

Dr Henry Okole, Chief of Cabinet, ACP Secretariat, Tel : 02 743 0605
(Office) - GSM 04742 309901