EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has again attacked the EU's sugar production quota after Brussels was forced to authorise more sugar imports.

The decision to allow in more imports at low levels of duty comes despite EU sugar beet processors actually having 4.9m tonnes in stock. However, this cannot be sold due to EU quotas on sugar produced within the bloc.

Yesterday (24 November), the EU's agriculture management committee approved tenders "for fixing a minimal duty for exceptional imports into the EU".

It is hoped this will help the EU fill the difference between its sugar consumption of around 16.5m tonnes and its quota-authorised sale for EU sugar of 13.74m tonnes.

Meanwhile, the committee approved the release of just 400,000 tonnes onto EU markets. This "again shows the limits of the quota mechanism and its structural shortcomings", said Ciolos who wants the quota system scrapped by 2015.

To shift the EU-made sugar in stock, the committee has authorised additional export quotas for EU producers of 700,000 tonnes, risking upsetting competitors who accuse the EU of dumping cheap sugar abroad.