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Parliamentary questions
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12 August 2019
Question for written answer E-002541-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Mara Bizzotto (ID)

 Subject:  EU-Mercosur agreement: Italian sugar production at risk
 Answer in writing 

In June 2019, the Commission and the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay) reached a free trade agreement that will allow these countries to export 180 000 tonnes of zero-duty raw sugar onto the EU market.

In addition, Paraguay will be granted an additional export quota of 10 000 tonnes of special sugars, including organic sugar. Italian producers, who have come together in a beet producers’ cooperative (Coprob), fear that this agreement will have a very serious impact on Italian production, which has already been suffering due to the collapse in the price of sugar following the end of the quota system in 2017.

Brazil is the world’s leading sugar exporter and Paraguay is the second largest producer of organic sugar in the world, but Mercosur countries do not guarantee the same quality and sustainability standards as Italian sugar producers.

This agreement will lead to an increase in the race-to-the-bottom competition in the EU market caused by Mercosur countries, with low-cost imports which will jeopardise the survival of the Italian sugar industry and its jobs.

In the light of the above, can the Commission say:
1. Whether it will review the EU-Mercosur agreement further to the Italian producers’ warnings;
2. How it intends to ensure consistency and protection with regard to Italian operators in the beet sector?
Original language of question: IT 
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