• The struggle to source raw materials is threatening the sugar refining sector in Europe


Fair access to raw material supply is our key issue

The EU policy regime has failed to establish a level-playing field across the European sugar market. As a result, the European sugar refining sector faces a critical situation. 

Indeed, the raw cane sugar refiners that are members of ESRA are competitive sugar producers, provided that they can access raw materials on equal terms with competitors, mainly sugar beet producers. However the current EU sugar regime does not allow access to sufficient raw material at competitive prices. Strict EU policy mainly limits the current supply of raw cane sugar to imports from developing countries and some fixed quotas. This uneven treatment threatens the survival of our competitive industry as a legitimate player in the European sugar market.

Without sufficient raw material, European refineries have had to consequently stop running at productive capacity or even close, costing our employees their livelihood. This situation is unsustainable long-term and further jobs are at risk.  

The European Commission has consistently turned a blind eye to our concerns or acted too late when it recognised that there was a problem. To date, it still has not used the instruments at its disposal to improve the situation in a fair way. 

ESRA requests the introduction of a simple mechanism to allow raw cane sugar from other sources to enter the EU at low or no import duty when refiners’ raw material needs cannot be supplied by the preferential origins in place. Such a measure could be automatic.