16 Oct 2013

Disagreement at major international sugar meeting in Fiji

5:11 pm on 16 October 2013

Major players in the sugar industry for the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations have met in Fiji to discuss the repercussions of the European Union decision to abolish the sugar quota by 2017.

The EU sent its Deputy Director-General for Development Cooperation, Marcus Cornaro, to Fiji to talk to delegates, and he says quotas stifle, rather than promote growth.

But Fiji's prime minister and the other ACP members disagree.

Alex Perrottet has more.

"Frank Bainimarama was heavily critical of the EU, saying its support was sorely lacking, and had been politicised. Warning that relations between the ACP and the EU could be threatened, he said the developing economies depended heavily on the sugar industry, and are not asking for handouts, but to be able to compete in a tough global market. He says the Cotonou Agreement between the groupings allows for quotas to be maintained until 2020, but ignored that the same agreement is underpinned by countries conforming to democratic principles. Despite that, the ACP's ministerial spokesperson for the Sugar Group, Satya Faugoo, heaped praise on Fiji, saying the new constitution and promise of democratic elections is a significant step that warrants the international community to get on board. Mr Faugoo said it was time for the ACP to devise strategies for a quota-free regime and to ensure market stability."