Economic Research Report No. (ERR-59) 51 pp

July 2008

The EU Sugar Policy Regime and Implications of Reform

The European Union's sugar policy, in place since 1968, underwent its first major reform in 2005 in response to mounting and unsustainable imbalances in supply and demand. The reform, however, targeted only a few policy instruments (intervention price cut, voluntary production quota buyout, and restrictions on nonquota sugar exports), while leaving other key policies unchanged (interstate quota trading, sugar-substitute competition, and import barriers). Consequently, the extent of the reform's impact is limited, compared with more far-reaching alternatives, particularly when the oligopolistic nature of the industry and its noncompetitive pricing behavior are taken into account. A model-based analysis suggests that the reforms by themselves are unlikely to induce price adjustments sufficient to reduce overproduction unless quotas and/or high tariffs are reduced.

Keywords: European Union, EU, sugar CMO, Common Market Organization, policy reform, trade, economic model

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Last updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For more information contact: Aziz Elbehri, David Kelch, and Johannes Umstaetter