«BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- European Union agriculture ministers opened talks Tuesday to seek a deal on bringing its sugar subsidy program in line with world trade rules, a move which could result in 39 percent cuts in domestic sugar prices.Portugal sempre associado às piores causas.
The EU is pursuing an overhaul of its sugar sector after the World Trade Organization ruled its subsidy program, which held sugar prices at three times the global market price and imposed hefty import tariffs, was unfair to other world producers. It has until May next year to reform its sugar aid program.
Brussels also pays out export subsidies to get millions of tons of sugar a year off its market, helping keep EU prices high and support Europe's farmers.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel argues the reform is needed to ensure that the EU's sugar farming sector remains viable in the future and to show the EU's trade partners that it is willing to open up its market to international competition. The current sugar subsidy program runs out in 2006.
Some 325,000 European farmers grow sugar beets. France, Germany and Poland are the biggest producers.
Italy, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Finland and Poland, among others, are vocal opponents to the reform, arguing it will decimate their sugar beet farmers. Under EU rules, the seven currently constitute a so-called blocking minority.
Publicada por jcd à(s) 11:37