Volume 3, Number 1 (2012)
Lome and the Trinidadian Sugar Industry 1975-2005
In 1975, Trinidad and Tobago, and a number of cane sugar producing African Caribbean and Pacific (A.C.P.) nations, signed the first Lome Agreement with the European Economic Community (E.E.C.). Resulting from this was the creation of the Lome Sugar Protocols (Foreign and Colonial Office (FCO 30/2664) 1975) which, henceforth, governed the sugar trade between the Western European economic bloc and the A.C.P nations. The new Lome accord replaced the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement (C.S.A.) which was established with Britain in 1951 (Commonwealth Sugar Agreement 1951), and which had proved to be economically very favourable to sugar exporting islands like Trinidad. The creation of Lome, however, set up a trading association that extended into the twenty-first century and was in many respects quite different from the one it replaced. This paper challenges the quite positive perceptions of the Lome Sugar Protocols signed by nations like Trinidad and Tobago and the European Economic Community in 1975. The general idea expressed on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was that this arrangement directly continued the favourable trading relationship established by the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement of 1951. In the words of the then President of the European Parliament, "on 28 February in Lome the European Economic Community signed a cooperation agreement with [forty six] African, Caribbean and Pacific States which constitutes a turning point in the history of international development cooperation." (FCO 30/2664) 1975) However, the protocols of the Lome accord worked overwhelmingly to the advantage of the British cane sugar refining company, Tate and Lyle, at the expense of Commonwealth sugar exporters.