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European Union to Import 97,000 Tons of Sugar at Lower Duty

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May 24 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union will import 97,000 metric tons of sugar at a reduced duty under the second of three planned tenders to ease shortages in the market.

The EU accepted bids to import 95,000 tons of raw sugar for refining at a minimum import duty of 306 euros ($384) a ton and 2,000 tons of white, or refined, sugar at a minimum duty of 340 euros a ton, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said in a statement e-mailed today. The duty charged to import raw sugar is usually 339 euros a ton, while imports of the white variety incur a levy of 419 euros a ton.

The EU took measures to ease a shortage after consumers complained. Food manufacturing in the region has been disrupted by a lack of sweetener, according to the Committee of European Sugar Users, a Brussels-based industry group which represents companies including Kraft Foods Inc.

The bloc authorized imports of 65,834 tons of sugar in the first tender that took place on May 3. The next one is scheduled for June 6. The 27-nation bloc also allowed local producers to sell an additional 250,000 tons of the sweetener in the domestic market. Under EU rules, producers can sell a limited amount locally. The rest has to be exported or put to non-food use.

White sugar prices in the EU averaged 711 euros a ton in March, the highest level since at least July 2006, the commission said in a report published on its website on May 3.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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