EU cuts sugar subsidies

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Friday, November 25, 2005

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The European Union agreed to reform its sugar subsidies Thursday. The EU has been under pressure by other members of the World Trade Organization to change its agriculture sector. The EU has been blamed for stalling trade talks at the recent APEC convention.

The EU offered a guaranteed price, paid by consumers, with Brussels buying at about three times the average world market price. The WTO ruled the EU's sugar prices to be illegal earlier this year after following complaints from Australia, Brazil, and Thailand. The reform package, going into effect in 2006, drops the guaranteed price by 36% and will make 6.3 billion euros (about $10 billion US dollars) available to EU sugar farmers and refiners.

This reform package will help the EU's negotiations in the WTO.