EU must ensure ACP sugar suppliers are treated fairly: PM
June 24, 2018 12:42 am
Prime Minister and Sugar Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has supported the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States call for the European Union to ensure that the ACP sugar suppliers are treated fairly.
Speaking at the special meeting for the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in Brussels, Bainimarama says the EU needs to urgently look at ways to address the current situation.
He says many ACP suppliers under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) are unable to export sugar to the EU market.
He says the current situation is far from sustainable and requires urgent intervention.
“For Fiji and several of our other ACP member countries – sugar exports especially to the EU have been an important part of our domestic economies for a long time. In Fiji more than 20% of our population is supported in some way by sugar. However, our ongoing efforts to value add and undertake diversification initiatives need to be taken to another level.”
Bainimarama says as part of the EU’s move to make the EU sugar regime market driven, last year saw the end of sugar quotas.
He says at the same time the traditional ACP suppliers including Fiji were provided some accompanying support measures to adjust to the sugar sector reform.
The Sugar Minister says with the EU support and our own resources, Fiji is in a midst of a major investment and modernization program in the sugar sector.