Raw cane sugar ATQ will not be expanded this year

Allowing tariff-free access to sugar from any country would undercut the UK’s sugar beet sector, NFU warns.

raw sugar cane on a table with a bowl of white sugar, and sugar canes growing in the background

The autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) on raw cane sugar will not be expanded for the remainder of the year, the government has confirmed following lobbying from the NFU.

The decision comes after a two-week government consultation in September to review whether an expansion of the quota might reduce sugar prices.

Introduced in 2021, the ATQ allows tariff-free access for 260,000t of raw cane sugar into the UK from anywhere in the world.

Whilst the move has been welcomed by NFU sugar board chair Michael Sly, the group remains opposed to the quota in its entirety, he said.

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“British sugar beet growers are some of the most efficient in the world but allowing tariff-free access to sugar from any country – some of which is produced in ways which would be illegal here in the UK – simply undercuts our homegrown sector.

“This is at a time when growers are already facing immense pressure from the cumulative effects of the government’s broader trade policy and inflationary costs are continuing to spiral.”

The majority of UK raw cane sugar imports come from Brazil, accounting for 52% of non-EU imports in 2021, 64% in 2022, and 70% to July this year.

Brazilian growers have access to a number of plant protection products which are illegal here in the UK.

“We will continue to work with government to highlight the impact of the ATQ on British growers,” Mr Sly added.


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