26 November 1999
Sugar prices below production cost

WORLD sugar prices are below the cost of production and are distorted by export subsidies, says the Philippine sugar industry.

The accusation was made yesterday in London by the executive director of the Philippine Sugar Millers Association, Jose Maria Zabaleta.

Speaking ahead of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Seattle, Mr Zabaleta called for improved access to markets and reduced export subsidies.

The WTO negotiations come at a sensitive time for the sugar market, with prices at historic lows and production at record highs. The market has been distorted by Brazils currency devaluation which has encouraged production.

On the other side of the coin, demand has been constricted by the Asian crisis and the financial problems in Russia.