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Philippines to Import Sugar
« on: January 25, 2010, 10:22:58 AM »
Amidst reports that refined sugar prices in some Metro Manila outlets had reached a high of P60 a kilo, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has directed a programmed importation of up to 150,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar at zero tariff through the tax expenditure subsidy (TES) of the National Food Authority (NFA) to ensure sufficient buffer stock at the end of the sugar milling season.

"We are waiting for the Executive Order that will authorize NFA to undertake the sugar importation," said Yap.

He said the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) will determine the eligible importers and the imported sugar will be allocated for industrial users, household consumers, institutional users and food processors.

"Customs Bonded Warehouse (CBW) operators or food processors who are exporters of sugar-based products can also import directly since they already enjoy a zero tariff on their importations under the Tariff and Customs Code," he added.

Yap also directed the SRA to submit a suggested retail price (SRP) for the commodity.

"The consuming public should be informed about the SRP for sugar to prevent overpricing by speculators and unscrupulous wholesalers and retailers who are taking advantage of the current sugar situation," he said.

Based on a report by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the prevailing price of refined sugar is P52 per kilo and P 44 a kilo on raw or brown sugar.

SRA Administrator Rafael Coscolluela earlier recommended a weekly SRP for refined sugar.

"Millgate prices change every week and there is a lag time of three weeks before these prices are reflected in the retail market," he explained.

The SRA has recommended a P52 a kilo for refined sugar until the end of January.

Prices are expected to rise to P54/kilo for the first week of February, reflecting an increase in average millgate buying prices to P1,900 per 50-kilo bag of raw sugar.

Coscolluela said SRA will submit to the DA and and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) a weekly recommended SRP for sugar based on monitored millgate prices.

"If we impose an SRP which is not reflective of millgate prices, we could see a tightening of sugar supply in the retail market. But we also don’t want to see the public victimized by overpricing," he said. (PNA)

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