EU backs renewal of major trade agreements

The European Commission has recommended to the EU Council of Ministers that the Union should vote in favour of renewing two long-standing trade agreements: the International Sugar Agreement and the Grains Trade Convention.

It is seeking the Council’s authorisation for Commission representatives to vote, on behalf of the Union, in favour of renewal at the forthcoming meetings of the governing bodies of these two agreements.

The Grains Trade Convention 1995 was concluded by the EU by Council Decision 96/88/EC until 30 June 1998 and, since then, it has been regularly extended.

Last considered in June 2011, it remains into force until 30 June 2013. A further extension of the Convention by up to two years is seen by the Commission as being in the EU's best interest.

Similarly, the International Sugar Agreement 1992 was concluded by the EU by Decision 92/580/EEC and entered into force on 1 January 1993 for a period of three years until 31 December 1995.

Since then, it too has been regularly renewed for further two-year periods.

The Agreement was last extended in June 2011 and remains into force until 31 December 2013. The Commission has said that it would be in the interest of the Union to vote for an extension of the Agreement to 31 December 2015.

It is intended to facilitate trade by collecting and providing information on the world sugar market and other sweeteners and provides a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar and on ways to improve the world sugar economy.

The Convention exists to further international co-operation in all aspects of trade in grains and to promote the expansion of international trade.

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