The European Commission has proposed a radical overhaul of the EU sugar regime, promising the new system will be more market, consumer and trade friendly.

The current system has come under fierce criticism for misallocating resources, hampering competition, harming developing countries and giving consumers, taxpayers and the environment a raw deal.

The Commission has proposed to substantially cut back sugar exports and export refunds, abolish intervention, reduce EU production and the internal sugar price and grant a de-coupled payment to sugar beet farmers. The reform process is set to start in July 2005.

“This reform gives the EU sugar sector and developing countries a realistic perspective. Our consumers will see much more market orientation, developing countries much less trade distortions,” said Franz Fischler, EU Agriculture Commissioner.

For more details of the proposal, click here.