9 Jul 2003

Sugar ministers from ACP countries to meet in Fiji to protect preferential prices

10:25 am on 9 July 2003

Sugar ministers from 17 African, Caribbean and Pacific, or ACP, countries will meet in Fiji later this month to work out strategies to help protect their ailing industries.

The Ministers will focus on ways in which ACP countries can continue receiving preferential prices from the European Union to keep their sugar industries alive.

The current agreement is due to expire in 2007, with strong pressure from major producers such as Australia and Brazil that the preferential prices should be removed.

The two countries have already taken their objections against preferential price to the WTO.

ACP sugar producers fear that a mid term review of the current protocol could result in the wateing down of preferences even before the 2007 expiry.

Fiji is the second biggest sugar supplier to the EU from the ACP group, behind only Mauritius, and is dependent on the EU prices to keep the indutry alive.