April 6, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the economic desk at the Political and Economic section at the United States embassy in Khartoum, George Eldridge, has affirmed that his country is amongst the largest importing countries of Gum Arabic from Sudan despite strained relations between Khartoum and Washington.
- Gum Arabic
The US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) recently announced expansion in the use of gum Arabic in food and beverages following a 2011 petition by France’s Nexira corporation.
According to pro-government Ashorooq TV, the chairman of Sudan’s Gum Arabic Council (GAC), Tag al-Sir Mustafa, said in a joint press conference with Eldridge in Khartoum on Sunday, that US consumption of Gum Arabic is expected to redouble in the 2014.
He underscored the need for doubling Sudan’s current exports of Gum Arabic, which amounts to 63,000 tonnes annually, in order to meet the anticipated demand.
Mustafa pointed to the comparative advantages of Sudanese Gum Arabic, adding that producers must be encouraged in order to provide the commodity in accordance with the required standards.
Las February, the secretary-general of GAC, Abdel-Magid Abdel-Gadir, disclosed that Sudan exported 42 tonnes of Gum Arabic to the United States in 2013, yielding $103 million.
He predicted the total exports of Gum Arabic would reach 55 tonnes by the end of 2014, adding that the US continued to import Gum Arabic from Sudan indirectly.
Sudan has been on the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harboring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the so-called “war on terror”.
Sudan is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human right abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region.
The US has excluded Gum Arabic from sanctions for the critical need of this commodity in nutritional and drug industry.