Fourteen of the fifteen EU Member States have agreed a new quota system worth €234m (US$217.6m) a year for the potato starch market.

Finland has abstained because its demand for a quota increase for 2002-2005 was ignored. A casual commitment to consider a rise for that period, given in 1998, has not been acted upon, leading Helsinki to abstain in protest.

Producers in the eight potato starch-producing countries will receive €110.54 per tonne of starch they supply to manufacturers, who subsequently receive a premium of €22.25 per tonne, said European Report.

Finland believes its quota should have been hiked to near its processing capacity of 78,000 tonnes instead of being left at 53,173 tonnes. However, the Commission said such a move would set a bad precedent for candidate countries, and could cause the scheme to exceed its budget.