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Fiji Time: 2:02 PM on Monday 21 April

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EU extends sugar deal

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, February 21, 2014

FIJI has landed a sweet deal with the European Union, the major buyer of Fiji's sugar with the assuring it will continue to buy the sweetener at a lucrative price until the year 2023.

The announcement brings to an end months of uncertainty about the future of the country's sugar exports.

Late last year, Fiji was forced to find new markets for sugar after the EU announced it would end the preferential quota system enjoyed by African Caribbean Pacific sugar-producing countries.

Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said assurance had been given by the EU that Fiji would continue to enjoy selling the sweetener to the continent at a price significantly higher than the world price.

"We have received interest from China and other countries but the fact remains that the EU remains the most lucrative market for us," he said.

"Other countries or buyers will not be able to offer the price that the EU has promised us."

The EU buys our sugar at between $US0.24 and $US0.28 ($F0.45 and $F0.53) per pound. The world market price is about $US0.16 to $US0.17per ($F0.30 to $F0.32) per pound.

Lt-Col Vaniqi said the agreement to purchase sugar at the higher price would extend beyond the expiry of the preferential quotas.

"Although the existing protocol expires in 2017, Tate and Lyle will continue to buy our sugar right up to 2023.

"The EU office in Brussels has confirmed that the market will continue to be lucrative up to 2023 and Fiji will take advantage of this offer."