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21 December 2020
British Sugar's Managing Director Paul Kenward has shared his reaction to the introduction of an autonomous tariff quota for raw cane sugar imports from 1 January 2021:
“We are baffled and surprised by the Government’s decision to introduce an autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) following the evidence provided as part of the recent public consultation. This will simply provide a subsidy for semi-processed raw cane sugar coming into the UK when over 400,000 tonnes of sugar cane is already imported into the UK tariff free each year.
“There is no scarcity of sugar available in the UK - we operate in a competitive market which supports both beet and cane. This ATQ will simply mean zero tariff access for cane sugar from countries where there are heavy subsidies for domestic industries, which we believe will seriously damage the sugar industries in the many countries that currently use preferential access to the UK to drive local development opportunities. The ATQ is to the detriment of our industry in the UK and does not create a level playing field for trade, which is all we have ever asked for.
“We simply do not understand how this policy squares with stated trade objectives and we made these arguments strongly in our consultation response. The UK has the opportunity to decide its own post-Brexit international trade policy – balancing the interests of all players in the market – however, this decision places the UK beet sugar industry and developing countries at a disadvantage, while benefitting the only refiner that imports raw cane sugar to the UK.
“Our focus is now on continuing to supply our customers with quality sugar from homegrown sugar beet that is processed locally.”