01 Sep 2003

The Impact of Preferential, Regional and Multilateral Trade Agreements: A Case Study of the EU Sugar Regime

Ellen Huan-Niemi / Jyrki Niemi

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The EU is a major participant in the world sugar market, being one of the top producers, importers and exporters in the world. The reform of the EU sugar regime will affect not only the EU member states and candidates, but also countries that are associated with the EU through the preferential, regional and multilateral trade agreements. For several decades, the EU has supported and protected the EU sugar sector. Sugar from developing countries will not be able to enter the EU sugar market without preferential trade agreements. In the EU sugar regime, the unique features of the trade concessions are that sugar under preferential import quotas can enter the EU market duty-free and the price paid for sugar equals to the high EU price for sugar. This paper attempts to analyse the complex hierarchy of trade arrangements between the EU and specific groups of countries. It compares the different trade agreements – including those achieved under the WTO – and explores the impact of these upon both the EU and the other countries involved.