SRA told to maintain sugar classification

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    The Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra, Inc. (AALCPI) is urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to maintain the status quo of sugar classification for the coming milling season.

    Roberto Cuenca, AALCPI president, noted that the SRA must classify 95 percent of sugar produce as ‘B’ and 5 percent as ‘A’ for this crop year which is set to begin next month.

    “The said percentage classification takes into consideration the present situation and the balance between ensuring sufficient domestic supply while maintaining the status quo of a readily available export market to the United States,” Cuenca explained.

    Notably, A sugar quota are those intended for exports to the US while B sugar quota is the production intended for local consumption.

    The AALCPI expressed that while they like to have all production classified for local consumption, the balancing of classification is still needed as they are not assured of demand amid the pandemic.

    Cuenca also mentioned that the SRA must not give A sugar quota with replenishment rights and not repeat a sugar order in the last crop year which approved the importation of sugar as replacement for the US quota to address the gap in domestic supply.

    However, the group said that the SRA must be on top of the situation and make sure that there is enough and accurate data to determine if its classification is viable especially since demand for sugar usually peaks by December in time for the holidays with a second peak towards summer.

    Last month, the Office of the US Trade Representative retained the Philippines’ sugar export quota under the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) on imported raw cane sugar for fiscal year 2021 at 142,160 metric tons (MT) raw value that is equivalent to 136,201 MT commercial weight.

    The country’s quota was the third largest following Brazil’s 152,691 MT and Dominican Republic’s 185, 335 MT.

    TRQ allow countries to export specified quantities of a product to the US at a relatively low tariff, but subject all imports of the product above a pre-determined threshold to a higher tariff.

    The said quota is deemed important as the Philippines is only among selected countries given with an annual allocation of sugar export to the US market at a premium.