On 6 March 2017 representatives of employers (CEFS) and workers (EFFAT – the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions) in the EU beet sugar sector met in a plenary meeting of the EU Sugar Sector Social Dialogue.
The EU beet sugar industry is preparing for one of the biggest changes in its history: the end of production quotas on 1 October 2017. The end of quotas presents substantial opportunities for EU beet sugar manufacturers, in particular the possibility to produce more sugar for food use and to export without limits.
Nevertheless, the end of production quotas could put the sector under pressure. Competition will intensify, lower white sugar prices are possible, and isoglucose is expected to take an increased market share. Less competitive EU beet sugar manufacturers may struggle to survive in a harsher market environment. This could have consequences for the 28,000 direct workers and 137,000 farmers that depend on the sector, as well as for the vulnerable rural communities of which sugar factories are often the economic backbone.
Consequently, CEFS and EFFAT take this historic opportunity to present four recommendations in the form of a Joint Statement on the end of quotas to support the sector in this period of uncertainty.