Most Favoured Nation: Give Me 260,000 Metric Tonnes Of Sugar (£)
I am your neighbour.
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Before getting going with this week’s MFN, I should state up front that I have not advised either of the companies involved in this legal case and do not particularly care who is right or wrong. My interest entirely stems from it being an absolutely bonkers case that, if it had gone a different direction, could have had some major ramifications for UK trade policy.
With that out of the way, let’s have a chat about British Sugar’s legal case against the Secretary of State for International Trade.
British Sugar (refiner of locally grown beat sugar) contends that the UK’s post-Brexit decision to introduce a zero-tariff autonomous annual tariff-quota (ATQ) for 260,000 metric tonnes of imported raw cane sugar was taken solely to benefit their competitor, Tate & Lyle, which since implementation has imported ~99% of the raw cane sugar benefiting from the ATQ. In the absence of the ATQ — for imports not from countries already benefiting from preferential tariff-treatment such as some ACP countries – the out-of-quota tariff for imported cane sugar is £28/100kg.
British Sugar goes on to contend that the ATQ thus constitutes unlawful state aid to Tate & Lyle, in breach of the UK state aid commitments under Article 10 of the Withdrawal Agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol, and the subsidy control provisions of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
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