The potential of mirror clauses for the EU beet sugar sector

The European Association of Sugar Manufacturers (CEFS) and the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Sectors Trade Unions (EFFAT) recognise the potential of mirror clauses in supporting the EU beet sugar sector and ensuring a level playing field on the world market.

Over the past decade the availability of third country sugar on the EU market has significantly increased as a result of the multiple EU FTA agreements concluded. This directly impacts the sugar industry, which is still recovering from the end of production quotas that resulted in the closure of 15 factories since 2017 and the loss of thousands of jobs.

The European beet sugar sector has continuously supported labour in the EU, health and environmental standards for food and agricultural products and worked hard to put sustainability at the heart of EU sugar production. However, having ambitious legislation inside the EU distorts competition if we also open market to third countries providing sugar that is not compliant with EU social and environmental standards.

Trade agreements have to respect EU environmental and social standards. The EU and its Member States must be coherent throughout their different policies and the ambitious environmental goals of the EU Green Deal should be respected throughout different trade agreements.

CEFS and EFFAT call for mirror clauses as a trade instrument with the potential to ensure a level playing field for the sector, maintain a high level of social, health and environmental standards for food products consumed in the EU and incentivise trading partners to improve employment and production standards.

CEFS and EFFAT therefore call for all third country sugar entering the EU market to:
– comply with all relevant international conventions on labour, social rights and the environment;
– comply with EU legislation and EU standards of production, mainly on chemicals and plant protection products, nutrients management and water management;
– comply with corporate due diligence and corporate accountability.

Read the full CEFS and EFFAT position on mirror clauses here

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