13-14 September 1999 (M'babane, Swaziland)


1. The FAO Advisory Consultation on ACP Sugar Policy and Trade was held in Mbabane, Swaziland on 13-14 September 1999, and attended by 79 representatives from ACP governments, signatories of the Sugar Protocol (SP) and the Special Preferential Sugar Agreement (SPS), and from their sugar industries. A list of participants has been appended. The countries represented were Barbados, Belize, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The FAO team of experts included Messrs. Kaison Chang (Senior Commodity Specialist from the Commodities and Trade Division of FAO), James Fry (LMC International), Kerry Mulherin (independent consultant), Kaliopate Tavola (Deputy General Manager of Fiji Sugar Marketing), and Michel Wohlgenant (Professor of Economics from the University of North Carolina).

2. The objective of the Consultation was twofold:

  • To provide a sound analytical base for complex sugar policy and trade issues, identifying options which would assist in formulating strategies aimed at maintaining and/or improving economic and social welfare gains of these countries; and
  • With respect to forthcoming international trade negotiations, particularly the next round of World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral negotiations, to develop a coherent negotiating strategy, appropriate ideas to minimize the adverse impact of trade liberalization on their countries and proposals to improve efficiency and productivity of the sugar sectors.



3. The Consultation was opened by Mrs Victoria Sekitoleko, the FAO Sub-Regional Representative for Southern and Eastern Africa, on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Mr Jacques Diouf. She considered it an honour that ACP members had requested FAO to organize the Consultation. She stated that the main purpose of the Consultation was to consider how possible forthcoming changes in the global trading framework might affect the sugar sector and how ACP sugar exporting countries might best deal with many consequential needs for adjustment.

4. The FAO Representative emphasized that the sugar sector was crucial for the social and economic development of the ACP sugar producing countries, which were with very few exceptions among the least-developed and net food-importing group of countries. The sugar industries played a major role in their economies, making a very significant contribution to the development of infrastructure in rural areas, to education, employment, and health and other services, as well as in the servicing of external debt. It was essential that current trading arrangements for ACP countries were not adversely affected without satisfactory compensatory arrangements which should include, inter alia, assistance towards improved competitiveness and where appropriate, product diversification.

5. The FAO Representative reiterated that FAO remained dedicated to supporting a fair and equitable trading system contributing to the improvement of employment opportunities and to increasing incomes of the rural poor. The Plan of Action of the World Food Summit committed FAO and other organizations to continue to assist developing countries on trade issues and in particular to help them prepare for future multilateral trade negotiations so that they might participate as well informed and equal partners in the negotiation process. One initiative had been the establishment of an Umbrella Programme for Training on Uruguay Round (UR) and Future Multilateral Negotiations on Agriculture. She invited the ACP countries to take advantage of this initiative.