USDA backs sugar importation tack

The sugar replenishment program is done to augment the volume of sugar exported to the United States and restore the domestic supply with higher-valued refined sugar

Despite opposition from local producers over fears that it will affect their livelihoods, the United States Department of Agriculture affirmed that importing refined sugar will help bring down the domestic prices of the sweetener.

Based on its latest report, the United States Department of Agriculture said imports can help stabilize the local costs of the commodity if the government will honor its trade commitments with the World Trade Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Particularly, the USDA noted that the Philippines can see the retail sugar prices going down by $480 per metric ton from ASEAN and $128/MT, at a 50 percent tariff or break-even at a 65 percent tariff, if outside ASEAN.

Under the World Trade Organization, the Philippines agreed on a 50 percent tariff quota for minimum access volume or MAV and 65 percent more than MAV allowed.

5% duty for ASEAN

Additionally, through its preferential trade agreement with ASEAN, the Philippines agreed to allow sugar to enter at a 5 percent duty.

The Philippines may raise the 5 percent tariff to the most favored nation levels when imports from ASEAN sources to the concession of sugar reach a trigger level.

In the same report, the foreign agency pointed out that selling locally-produced sugar to the international market can help the government make as much as P2.4 billion.

“The sugar replenishment program is done to augment the volume of sugar exported to the United States and restore the domestic supply with higher-valued refined sugar,” the report read.

“In the past, the Philippines also designed special exceptions to take advantage of its economic opportunity to export to the United States. In 2021, the SRA issued Sugar Order Number 3, or the ‘A’ sugar export replenishment program,” it added.


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