NEWS: Sugar Exports to Europe Drop After Peak Year

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Cambodia’s sugar shipments to Europe fell by 41 percent last year, according to trade data from the European Union (E.U.), a significant drop for one of the country’s most controversial exports.

Dubbed “blood sugar” by the families that have lost their homes and farms to sugarcane plantations across the country, Cambodia in 2014 shipped 38,000 metric tons of the commodity to the E.U.—its main market—worth $17.4 million.

Last year’s total is a little over half as much sugar as Cambodia exported to the E.U. in 2013, but still the second most of any year since 2009, when Europe granted duty-free access to Cambodian goods under its Everything But Arms trade scheme for least developed countries.

Italy and Bulgaria bought up most of last year’s sugar exports. The rest went to the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain and Belgium.

Though sugar makes up a small fraction of what Cambodia exports to the E.U., it has arguably been the country’s most controversial commodity.

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