First trade restriction as EU membership goes into effect

  • 2004-05-06
  • Baltic News Service
RIGA - Latvia's government on April 29 adopted regulations on the declaration of sugar and products containing sugar in order to prevent a possible influx of cheap sugar after May 1 from other new EU members, in particular Estonia.

According to the regulations, businesses that as of May 1 have sugar stocks in excess of the amount they would ordinarily require for a period of three months will be required to declare these sugar stocks by late May.
The regulations are needed to protect the Latvian market from a possible mass inflow of sugar from Estonia, as the Agriculture Ministry believes that the neighboring country has stocked up some 31,000 tons of sugar, or half the combined annual output of Latvia's two sugar factories in Liepaja and Jelgava.
Estonia has no sugar factories and has been buying sugar elsewhere for lower prices.
The Agriculture Ministry said that sugar importers or exporters would have to prove that their imports have been declared in some other new EU member states or pay taxes and fines.
Latvia will not face any EU sanctions over this trade restriction since the laws require new members to take measures not to permit any distribution of cheap sugar purchased before accession to the EU.
Estonia has also introduced similar trade restrictions.
At present Latvia is protecting its sugar market by subjecting all sugar imports to a special license. Now that it is a EU member, Latvia will be allowed to sell sugar produced in other EU member states.