Commission projects unchanged sugar market following quota elimination

Further details on the Commission’s expectations for the EU sugar market following the end of sugar quotas in 2015 are contained in its market outlook to 2020 publication published last month.

This medium-term outlook for the EU sugar market is based on a status quo assumption for agricultural and trade policy. The Commission notes that its CAP towards 2020 legislative proposal confirms the existing provisions on expiry of the regime after the marketing year 2014/15. Thus it argues that the policy assumption on the expiry of sugar quotas is in conformity with existing legislation.

In my own review of the legislative proposals I argued that the Commission’s decision not to propose an extension to the sugar quota regime after 2014-15 is a part of the 2013 CAP reform, on the grounds that this was the first time that the Commission had made its intentions clear.

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The Polish Presidency and Agriculture: A Mixed Performance

The 6-month tenure of the Polish Presidency came to an end in 31 December 2011. Although the Polish Presidency will mainly be remembered for finalising the EU Budget 2012 & adopting the ‘six-pack’ agreement, it also had some important results for agriculture. Such results include the informal agreement on the EU dairy package, the temporary solution for the ‘Aid for the Needy’ scheme for 2012 and 2013, the unanimous decision on the Green Paper on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products, the compromise reached on biocides being more environmentally friendly and safer for user and the success of the Durban Climate Conference.

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The changing landscape of agricultural support

Discussions on reducing agricultural support in the Uruguay Round and, especially, the WTO Doha Round have been framed increasingly in North-South terms. Developing countries have sought reductions in OECD country agricultural support while developed countries have sought increased access to their manufacturing and services markets in exchange.

However, the landscape of agricultural support is changing. While levels of agricultural support and protection have been falling in OECD countries (helped by high world market prices), agricultural support in a number of (but not all) emerging economies has been increasing (despite the increase in world market prices).

These changes in the global distribution of agricultural support have two main consequences.

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