The committee wants to examine how the sugar industry will be affected by Brexit and what the options are for a trade policy surrounding sugar once the UK leaves the EU.
It said there was a total import demand of 613,000t of sugar a year. The UK supplies 60% of the demand with domestically grown sugar beet, 15% comes from the EU, and the remaining 25% from imported sugar cane.
Current EU policy is aimed at protecting the sugar beet industry while providing preferential access to raw and refined sugar from the least developed countries (LDC) and Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).
The EU has prohibitively high tariffs on sugar cane imports from nations outside of these agreements.
“EU regulations currently support farmers growing sugar beet in the UK and give preferential access to less developed markets,” said Neil Parish, chair of the EFRA committee.
“As the UK leaves the EU, these regulations will change and the UK may have to look elsewhere for the sugar currently imported from Europe.
“It is important that less developed countries retain their ability to sell sugar in the UK after we leave the EU, as this has reciprocal benefits for UK consumers and overseas vendors.
“It is vital that domestic growers and importers understand the ramifications for the sugar industry of any potential future trading arrangement.”
The committee is asking for written submissions on the issue by Monday, February 26 of no more than 3,000 words.
It wants information on what the challenges and opportunities the UK sugar industry would face from new trade arrangements with EU countries.
It is also seeking suggestions on how the deficit in sugar trade after Brexit could be filled and how policy should address trends in the sugar industry, including falling world prices and decreased consumption.
The committee is also calling for input into what trade policies and agreements would help to strike balance between protecting the domestic industry and supporting the sugar industry in LDC and ACP countries.