Sugar beet growers are being urged to respond to a government consultation on imports and email their MP to safeguard the UK sugar industry.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has opened a consultation on the new raw sugar Autonomous Tariff Quota (ATQ).
The government has plans to introduce a new zero tariff, 260,000 tonnes ATQ for raw sugar coming into the UK from 1 January 2021.
A tariff free quota open to all countries will provide additional access to the UK market for raw sugar grown anywhere in the world.
NFU Sugar, which has urged growers to respond to the consultation, warned that international production standards were often produced with practices that would be considered illegal in the UK.
The industry body believes the opening of a zero tariff ATQ for raw sugar will distort competition in the sugar market.
It added that this would undermine the preferential access granted to developing countries.
NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said the government’s plan was 'highly concerning, unjustified and unnecessary'.
"Allowing tariff free access to sugar from any country, produced in ways that would be illegal in the UK, will simply undercut UK growers and the standards they produce to.
"This quota system will also undermine the existing preferential access granted to developing countries.
“We believe the government should urgently review this tariff and ensure that any imports under this tariff-free quota are produced to the same standards required of our growers.”
The DIT consultation is open until 11.45pm on Monday 5 October 2020.