The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has agreed in principle to a proposal of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to allow importation of sugar by food processors if and when buying price from local suppliers breaches the P1,900-per 50-kilogram bag benchmark or trigger price, according to DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Lopez told members of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food in a forum in San Juan on Saturday the DTI and the SRA have discussed a mechanism that will challenge sugar suppliers to be competitive with imports.
“We always prefer to buy from local, but the price should be competitive. If (local producers) cannot give it at that price, then (food processors) should be allowed to import.
This is what the DTI suggested to SRA, to let (local sugar producers) to match at least the landed cost of imported sugar, with tariff and taxes,” Lopez said.
He later told reporters while that while the SRA has assured to make available lower priced sugar especially for exporters of processed food, government should still to ensure “ the competitive price of sugar even for the domestic market.”
Lopez said food exporters have the freedom to import duty-free for their own use as long as their products are reexported.
He said SRA is also connecting food processors with possible suppliers to source their requirements directly, eliminating the need for middlemen.
“The trigger price is a mechanism that the DTI and the SRA agreed on last year; we just have to make sure it is being implemented to ensure they are granting permits to those in need,” Lopez said.