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Overview

In July 2004, the European Commission (EC) released its proposals for reform of the EU sugar regime. This document acknowledged that ‘the proposal would certainly imply adjustments in the sugar sector of the ACP [African, Caribbean, and Pacific] countries and India’ – countries which until now have had preferential and guaranteed access to high prices in the European market for a limited quantity of exports under the Sugar Protocol. For this reason, the Commission promised to initiate a dialogue with ACP Sugar Protocol countries to develop an action plan of ‘appropriate accompanying measures’. The plan was published in January 2005. It states that since ‘the main roots of the challenges facing Sugar Protocol countries are to be found in the structure of international trade relations’, the EU aims to improve international and regional sugar trading conditions for ACP countries through a mixture of trade and aid measures. This briefing note provides a summary and critique of the proposed Action Plan and presents proposals on how the EU could best help developing countries likely to be affected by EU sugar reform and to make the most from the opportunities reform may provide.

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