MEPs call for reforms to help Tate & Lyle

By Giles Broadbent on May 29, 2012 11:33 AM |

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London MEPs have called on the EU to relax its rules on sugar imports to safeguard thousands of skilled jobs, including those at Tate & Lyle's Silvertown operations.

Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis has led the charge against the union's preferential treatment towards imports from developing countries.

She, along with 61 MEPs from 11 countries, has written to Agriculture Commissioner Dacian CioloĊŸ calling for fair treatment for cane and beet refiners.

The EU regime move is aimed at growing trade with African, Caribbean and Pacific states but they have insufficient supply to meet demand and EU restrictions mean Tate cannot source products from elsewhere. In February, Tate began to lay off staff as work dried up.

Marina said: "The European Union spends a lot of time talking about growth and jobs. However, when it comes to protecting existing jobs or promoting growth in the EU sugar sector the commission is sticking to its rigid import regulations and economically threatening Europe's cane refiners.

"Thousands of jobs are at stake in some of the most economically deprived areas of the EU, including in the Silvertown area
.
"We are not asking for special treatment for cane refiners, just a level playing field so that they may remain economically viable.

"This will not only hurt European refiners, but sugar cane producers in the developing world will also be squeezed out."

Pictured: Conservative Marina Yannakoudakis MEP and Bulgarian Liberal Antonyia Parvanova MEP with letter to Commissioner Ciolos