The safeguard measures laid down in Regulation 2423/1999 of November 15, 1999 to offset significant market disruption take on a particular resonance in view of the Commission's Decision on February 15, 2000 to propose that the Council of Ministers extend the application of Decision 91/482/EEC establishing the principle of free market access for agricultural products from OCTs. Preferential Agreements are therefore held responsible for the disfunctioning of the common organisation of the market (COM) in the sugar sector. According to the Commission Communication, the day-to-day running of the COM is seriously jeopardised by massive imports enjoying free access of sugar and cocoa with a high sugar content from OCTs. It appears that these imports have a highly damaging impact not only on Community operators but also on the Community budget. The Commission has calculated that cheap imports from OCTs in 1999 cost it Euro 35 million from the farm budget, in order to cover export refunds granted to quantities of sugar from the Community that could not be traded.--Council Decision 91/482/EEC of July 25, 1991 on the association of OCTs with the Community, as amended by Decision 97/803/EC (dubbed the "OCT Decision"), introduces the principle of freedom of access without import duties or quantitative restrictions for agricultural products from these countries. In order to alleviate any difficulties caused by imports of large quantities of sugar and cocoa with a high sugar content from the OCTs, the Commission adopted...

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