EU Backs Plans to Import Additional 200,000 Tons of Sugar

European Union nations approved plans to import an additional 200,000 metric tons of sugar at zero duty to increase supplies in the 27-nation bloc.

EU states also backed a proposal for further imports at a reduced duty via a tendering system, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said today in an e-mailed statement. The system would be in place from July to the end of the marketing season in September.

Sugar prices have jumped as much as 70 percent in the EU this year, Rabobank International said last week in a report, even as futures slumped 17 percent in London and dropped 30 percent in New York. Some EU regions have shortages, with residents in Poland buying sugar from shops in Germany to resell at home, the bank said.

“World market prices for sugar have been at a consistent high level during the first months of the 2010-11 marketing year, which has slowed down the pace of imports,” the commission said.

The additional imports voted through today add to the 300,000 tons of duty-free sugar shipments approved earlier this year by the EU. The import duty on the further tonnage will be suspended from July 1 to Sept. 30, the commission said. It also said responses are due by noon Brussels time on July 13 for the first invitation to tender for imports.

“EU operators may submit offers for importing sugar at a reduced import duty, and the commission will assess the volumes and duties offered and decide which bids to accept based on the evolution of the EU and world sugar market situation,” it said.

Both measures will be formally adopted in the next few weeks, according to the commission.

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