EU Sugar Shake-Up: Shifting the Sugar Trade Balance

In this fourth article in the ‘EU Sugar Shake-Up’ series, we will look closer at the shift in the EU trade balance that is taking place as a consequence of the reform. The EU has been a net importer of sugar since 2006, but a rise in exports, combined with decreasing imports, will lead to a different situation. The role of beet sugar producers is a major factor as they step up beet sugar output, part of which is destined for the export market. When it comes to imports, players active in raw sugar refining will be decisive in determining the change in trade flows.

Until 2006, the EU was a force to reckon with in global white sugar trade. The WTO limit for EU exports imposed in 2006, following market regulation through quotas and minimum beet prices, however, led to a significant decline in this role. The 2017 internal market liberalisation will lead to a disappearance of the WTO limit as of this season. As regards the imports, the 2017 regime change does not include any alterations for EU import tariffs, quotas, and other arrangements, thus making demand the key driver for volume changes.