GENEVA, May 18 (AFP): Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said the European Union was set to miss a deadline for meeting a WTO order to end its subsidies of sugar exports, at a meeting of the body here yesterday.
An Australian representative to the WTO complained hat Brussels "has not implemented the recommendations and rulings" of the WTO to cut its subsidies to sugar exporters, and that it would not meet a May 22 deadline to do so.
Australia, Brazil and Thailand in May 2005 called for the ruling against the subsidies. But the European bloc has continued with them, exporting a record amount of sugar.
Australia said the EU was set to export a record seven to eight million tonnes (short tons) of sugar in the 2005-2006 season.
Brussels responded that its Council of Ministers in February had adopted measures to reform its sugar policy but its executive branch, the European Commission, was still working on implementing the measures.
The three countries bringing the complaint called on the EU to go beyond mere pledges and actually end its subsidies.
"For many years, Brazil and other competitive producers and exporters have paid for the distortions and inefficiencies of the European sugar regime," the Australian delegate said.