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CIUS addresses “unjustified” suspension of EU sugar import from Ukraine

The Committee of European Sugar Users (CIUS) issued a position following the suspension of sugar imports from Ukraine into EU countries, a measure it finds “economically unjustified for sugar and incoherent with the EU’s promise to support Ukraine and pave the way towards accession,” said Yury Sharanov, President of CIUS. “We hope that free trade with Ukraine can be restored as soon as possible,” he adds.

This suspension fails to take into account the interests of EU sugar buyers, consumers and economic growth and competitiveness as well as those of Ukraine, CIUS detailed in a press announcement. “Duty Free Quota Free access to sugar from Ukraine was good for both Ukraine and the EU.”

The association highlights that the free access to sugar helped to:

  • plug the chronic gap between EU sugar supply and demand
  • sustain the EU’s healthy agrifood export surplus
  • bring better balance to the EU sugar market

An automatic safeguard mechanism against imports was introduced earlier this year under pre-election pressure, without a prior impact assessment. The imports of sugar from Ukraine have been suspended until the end of this year. In addition, there is a 109,438-tonne cap for the volumes that will be allowed to be imported in the first six months of 2025.

“This is a drastic cut as over 400,000 tonnes were imported during the marketing year 2022/2023,” CIUS underlines. Free acccess to more than 500,000 tones per year is needed, the organization estimates, citing several reasons, including:

  • Insufficient EU sugar production combined with excessive restrictions on imports resulted in a chronic sugar deficit and distorted EU market.
  • Even with the surge of imports from Ukraine, there were still shortages.
  • Imports of sugar from Ukraine did not cause sugar price decline and economic hardship as implied by the agricultural lobby communications. “EU sugar prices hit record highs and EU sugar production profitability grew substantially during the time that duty-free quota-free imports were allowed from Ukraine,” CIUS highlights.
  • Insufficient sugar supplies have undermined industry competitiveness, stymied production and export of high EU value-added sugar-containing food and drinks, and negatively impacted the EU’s export surplus and economy.

The Commission committed “to take the necessary steps under the Association Agreement with Ukraine, as soon as the new ATMs are adopted, to pursue, through consultations with Ukraine, the process of reciprocal tariff liberalization.” CIUS hopes that all stakeholder interests will be taken into account.

The Committee of European Sugar Users (CIUS) represents more than 15 000 sugar-using companies, ranging from artisan, small and medium-sized enterprises to multi-nationals. Its members purchase about 70% of the EU’s annual production of sugar and employ over 700,000 people in Europe. Products made by CIUS members include fine bakery wares, chocolate, confectionery, soft drinks, canned fruits and jams.


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