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World sugar exporters ask India, Pakistan, EU to cut subsidies

FILE PHOTO: Labourers lift a sack filled with sugar to load it onto a handcart at a wholesale market in Kolkata, India, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

(Reuters) - The world’s top sugar exporters asked India, Pakistan and the European Union to eliminate subsidies, blaming such programs for weak prices and a supply glut, the Global Sugar Alliance for Sugar Trade Reform and Liberalization said on Thursday.

“Fueled by a glut of government-supported sugar from Pakistan, and the threat of subsidized Indian sugar exports, the world sugar price (ICE #11) has dropped to a level below the cost of production of even the most efficient producers in the world,” Global Sugar Alliance Chairman Greg Beashel of Australia said in a release.

Raw sugar futures traded in New York have been hovering above a 2-1/2-year low of 10.69 cents per lb reached in April, with prices pressured by abundant global supplies as well as the weak Brazilian currency against the U.S. dollar.

The Global Sugar Alliance met in Geneva to discuss the degree to which subsidies provided and proposed by Pakistan, India and the EU contravene World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

“There must be no exports of the subsidized sugar,” said Eduardo de Sousa, executive director of UNICA, the cane industry trade group in top sugar grower Brazil.

“Global Sugar Alliance Members have identified export subsidies and domestic price supports in excess of WTO allowances and are urging our governments to take all necessary steps to ensure (that) Pakistan and India comply with WTO rules.”

Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Additional reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Richard Chang