The Competition Commission has granted the South African Sugar Association (SASA) and its members an exemption until June 31, 2021.
The exemption has been granted subject to conditions to ensure that the information SASA and its members share is limited to that which is necessary to give effect to the purposes of the South African Sugarcane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030, without compromising competition in the long run.
Although the Sugar Master Plan covers the entire sugar value chain, the exemption is, in the main, limited to coordination between millers, growers and refiners but excludes any envisaged coordination between retailers.
However, as part of the Sugar Master Plan, retailers and industrial users of sugar have individually committed to minimum levels of offtake from South African millers, growers and/or refiners, commitments which do not need coordination among the retailers and industrial users.
The commission says it is satisfied that these conditions will limit the sharing of competitively sensitive information but simultaneously permit SASA and its members to share information necessary to achieve the stability of the sector and its eventual recovery.
These conditions have monitoring mechanisms attached to ensure that the objectives set out in the exemption application are met by SASA and its members and that the applicants remain within the scope of the exemption.