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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
WTO sugar ruling sparks EU appeal
Sugar cane
The row centres over sugar from EU nations' ex-colonies
The European Union has said it will appeal against a ruling that its sugar subsidies breach world trade rules.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) found against the EU in August, upholding complaints from Brazil, Australia and Thailand.

The WTO has effectively upheld the August preliminary ruling by publishing the reports of the panel that made it.

Critics charge that the subsidies push down world prices, making it hard for poorer sugar producers to compete.

Brazil led the opposition to EU policy, in what aid agencies have seen as victory for developing countries.

Brazil, which played a leading role in creating the G22 lobby of developing nations within the WTO, has brought successful WTO cases against US cotton subsidies as well as the EU's sugar regime.

In this case, the WTO agreed with Brazil that about half the EU's annual 5 million tonnes of sugar exports breached world trade rules.

Plans

But the EU insisted it had done nothing wrong.

"Today, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has circulated and made public the panel reports in the dispute brought by Australia, Brazil and Thailand against the EU sugar regime," the European Commission said.

"In response, the Commission announced that it would appeal the ruling," it added.

Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said he would press on with plans to reform the subsidy system, cutting internal prices and national production quotas within three years.

Although some campaigners praised the plans, others have said they will make little difference to the flood of cheap exported sugar from Europe.


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