EU Plans Four Sugar-Import Tenders, Allows More Exports

The European Union set four tenders to import sugar at a reduced duty to ease shortages and authorized local producers to export more supplies they don’t have permission to sell domestically.

The tenders to ship in as much as 600,000 metric tons of raw or white sugar will start next month, with the first likely date being Jan. 23, Roger Waite, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said today by e-mail. Local producers will be allowed to export an additional 700,000 tons of the sweetener they can’t sell in the domestic market, taking total shipment permits for the 2012-13 season to 1.35 million tons, within the limit imposed by the World Trade Organization.

Under EU rules, producers can only sell a limited amount of their output within the local market. The rest has to be put to non-food use or exported within the WTO limits. That leaves the bloc’s consumption to be met by imports from some countries that have preferential agreements with the 27-member states. Imports from these nations have been falling short of demand, prompting the commission to organize import tenders.

A proposal to allow local producers to sell more sugar within the bloc was discussed at today’s meeting of the Sugar Management Committee and will be voted on in January, the commission said. The EU also suspended additional duties imposed on top of the levy of 419 euros ($555) a ton for imports of white sugar and 339 euros a ton for the raw variety, Waite said.

EU sugar production will fall 6.1 percent to 17.6 million tons in the 2012-13 season started Oct. 1, according to new estimates by the commission released today. Sugar stockpiles in the bloc were 1.6 million tons at the end of last season, down from a previous forecast of 2 million tons.

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