Peterborough’s British Sugar secures court hearing in tariffs battle with Government

Peterborough-based British Sugar has been granted its day in court as it battles a Government decision to cut sugar tariffs.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 5:23 pm
British Sugar offices, Hampton EMN-211204-173344009

A two-day judicial review in the High Court has been set for early next year as British Sugar seeks to overturn a tariff cut it says will only benefit its American rivals.

The hearing has been set to take place on February 1 and February 2 next year.

The move has been sparked by a decision by the former International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to cut tariffs for 12 months on 126,000 tonnes of raw sugar cane imports.

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British Sugar claims the decision is effectively a subsidy for its American rivals Tate & Lyle Sugars, which is the main refiner of cane sugar in the UK. British Sugar refines sugar from homegrown sugar beet.

Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, which employs about 300 people at its offices in Hampton, said: “We haven’t taken this step to challenge the Government’s decision lightly.

“We have done so because it puts the British beet sugar industry, including over 2,500 farmers, at a distinct competitive disadvantage, as well as harming the interests of farmers in developing countries.

“We support free and fair trade, and are positive about the opportunities that many future Free Trade Agreements offer to the British beet sugar industry.

“Indeed imports already include approximately 400,000 tonnes of sugar cane which are imported into the UK tariff free.

“However, this particular decision goes above and beyond our trade agreements.

Mr Kenward added: “Only one company imports and refines raw cane sugar in this country – so by deciding to single out raw cane sugar alone for special treatment, from the thousands of goods on the tariff book, we believe that the Government is selectively and unfairly benefitting that one American company to the tune of at least £12 million this year.”

A spokesperson for the Department of International Trade said: “We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”