THE EU, a net sugar importer, could emerge as a major exporter of white sugar to the Middle East and Africa after production quotas are lifted in 2017, eroding the market share of northern hemisphere refineries. The EU is expected to end sugar production quotas, currently at 14 million tons a year, as part of reforms to create a freer sugar market. Analysts said the volume of EU sugar exports after the lifting of quotas would be linked to growers’ assessments of international sugar prices relative to alternative crops, as well as production and freight costs. Some analysts said they believed the EU had potential to export 2 million tons a year after quotas were lifted. “When world sugar prices are high, EU beet farmers will export a lot of sugar – and vice versa,” Marex Spectron commodities analyst Robin Shaw said. – Reuters