Bangkok: In a recent meeting held in Bangkok, the Global Sugar Alliance (GSA) welcomed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cautionary stance on the potential health risks associated with artificial sweeteners. The GSA also took the opportunity to acknowledge the important role of the sugarcane industry in ensuring global sustainable food and energy security.
During the meeting, members also renewed their call for reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and restoring a fully functioning WTO appellate body.
Several key points were discussed, including the WHO’s findings that artificial sweeteners do not aid in weight loss and the concerns over their adverse effects on blood sugar levels, heart health, and mortality. Furthermore, India’s ethanol program was recognized for its substantial contribution to international emissions reduction commitments.
Greg Beashel, GSA Chair and Managing Director of Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL), expressed his appreciation for the WHO’s science-based caution and India’s ethanol program developments. He said, “The WHO’s science-based caution over health issues associated with the use of artificial sweeteners and India’s ethanol program are significant developments. The sugar industry is continuing its major contribution to global food and energy security and doing so sustainably. We welcome the WHO guideline as it reaffirms the importance of natural sugars in a balanced and nutritious diet.”
Luciano Rodrigues, UNICA’s Economics Director in Brazil, emphasized the sugar industry’s major role in global energy security through co-generation and ethanol production as renewable and sustainable biofuels. He stated that the sugar industry is making a major contribution to global energy security through co-generation and ethanol production as renewable and sustainable biofuels. “We are committed to the production of quality sugar and ethanol in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” Rodrigues further added.
Luis Fernando Salazar, ASAZGUA’s International Affairs Coordinator emphasized that the WTO has been a significant force for change, reigning in the export of subsidised sugar surpluses. More is required to promote predictability and security in the multilateral trading system. Restoration of the WTO Appellate Body is a matter of priority and urgency.
Vibul Panitvong, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation in Thailand, said, “Improving the environment and reducing climate pressures are the benefits that can flow from an unsubsidised open trading system that enables each country to take full advantage of their comparative advantages.”