EuropaBio position on the Reform of the Sugar Regime, adopted by the EU Agricultural Ministers (20 February 2006)

23.03.2006

EuropaBio position on the Reform of the Sugar Regime, adopted by the EU Agricultural Ministers (20 February 2006)

Background

On 20 February 2006, the EU agriculture ministers formally adopted a radical reform of the EU sugar sector. The core of the reform, which will come into force on 1 July this year, is a 36 percent cut in the guaranteed minimum sugar price, compensation for farmers, a Restructuring Fund to encourage uncompetitive sugar producers to leave the industry, and sugar for non-food uses for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and for the production of bio-ethanol to be excluded from production quotas. This regime will remain valid, without review, for nine years.

Industrial or white biotechnology, basis for the new European bioeconomy, is dependent on sugar 

Industrial or white biotechnology is the application of biotechnology for the processing and production of enzymes, chemicals, materials and bioenergy. It uses enzymes and microorganisms to make products used in sectors such as chemistry, detergents, food and feed, paper and pulp, textiles, the pharmaceutical industry and energy. Industrial biotechnology is making an increasingly important contribution to the development of a sustainable knowledge based bio-economy, and Europe is still one of the leading regions in this field. One of the basic feedstocks for many industrial biotechnology fermentation processes are carbohydrates (different sugars ranging from sugar syrup, isoglucose to pure crystalline sugar, starch, glucose and molasses). As non-European competitors have access to much cheaper raw materials, access to world market prices for sugar is a condition for many European industrial biotechnology companies to stay in business and maintain operations in Europe.

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