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EU Said to Seek Member States Views on Boosting Sugar Supply

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EU Said to Seek Member States Views on Boosting Sugar Supply

  • EU would propose exceptional measures to boost supply in bloc
  • Bloc would allow at least 300,000 tons of additional supplies

The European Union asked member states for their views about potentially boosting sugar supplies as stockpiles head toward the lowest in at least a decade, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, consulted countries at a meeting of its agriculture management committee on Thursday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Under the plan, the EU would allow additional supplies of at least 300,000 metric tons to expand stockpiles by the end of the season, the people said.

Sugar inventories in the EU will fall to about 700,000 tons by the end of September, the lowest since the bloc’s sugar reform was implemented in 2006, European Commission data show. Food makers will face shortages by July if no measures are taken, Robert Guichard, the president of the Committee of European Sugar Users, said in an interview in Geneva last month.

A spokeswoman for the commission confirmed the meeting and said member states were consulted on several topics.

The EU, once the second-biggest sugar exporter, spent years cutting output after the World Trade Organization ruled it was dumping subsidized sweetener on world markets. With local producers only allowed to sell a certain amount in the domestic market, that left part of EU demand to be met by imports. Shipments into the region have fallen behind last year’s levels.

Half of any additional supplies would come from allowing domestic producers to sell more within the bloc and the rest from import tenders, the people said. The potential measure would be voted at the next meeting of the management committee later this month, with the view to hold a first import tender in June, they said.

Members states were undecided on the plan, the people said. No formal proposal has been drafted.

(Updates with commission comment in fourth paragraph.)