The Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) is reiterating a position that the regional sugar industry faces a binary choice of either enforcing a robust regional domestic market in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) or risk closure with all regional sugar and molasses imported into the Caribbean at volatile global prices.
A spokesman for the SAC told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Monday that there have not been any changes to the environment following a position paper released in September last year on the need to reform the Common External Tariff (CET) for a sustainable future for the Caribbean sugar industry.
The Communications and Media Officer with the SAC, William Neal, said CARICOM was still lagging “far behind” as the efforts continue to revitalise the sugar industry.
In the position paper, the SAC, a trade association supporting the interests of sugar producers within CARICOM, said that a truly regionally integrated sugar industry has for decades been undermined by international European Union and United States policy towards imports of raw sugar.
It said at times of globally high sugar prices, regional manufacturers and industrial users of sugar have long called out for Caribbean suppliers of sugar to give preference to supplying the regional market, but “sadly the market incentives of artificially high sugar prices in Europe and the US prevented that vision from ever coming to pass.
“Yet a regional sugar industry supplying the needs of industrial users of sugar in the region makes sense – both to reduce import costs, support CARICOM industries, and provide long-term consistent pricing beneficial to both buyer and seller.”
The SAC said that this is the model which is in place in the vast majority of sugar-growing regions around the world and it believes it can be achieved in CARICOM. (CMC)