Slovakia has announced that it is to hold an investigation into problems being faced by its sugar industry, which could lead it to set up safeguard duties protecting its producers of beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form.

Its action follows complaints from the Slovak Sugar Association and the Union of Slovak Sugar Beet Producers. The country’s Ministry of Economy claims that it has evidence of substantial increases in imports “which have caused…serious injury to the domestic sugar industry.” In 1998, the total imports were 2,599 tonnes and in 1999, 13,940 tonnes. The loss to the Slovak industry was SKr254m in 1999; it shed 200 employees and production capacities of 10,000 tonnes.

By Keith Nuthall