By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
Local sugar producers who exported more than 100,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar to the United States to help the Philippines fulfill its obligation the world’s biggest economy will be allowed to import to replenish their stocks, according to the newly issued order from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
On January 6, SRA signed Sugar Order (SO) No. 4 to order the so-called “‘A’ Sugar Export Replenishment Program,” which allowed those who exported sugar to US during the current crop year to import the corresponding volume of sugar that they exported at a ratio of 1:1. SO 4 was released to the public on late Wednesday.
For this crop year, which started in September last year and will end in August this year, the United States of America, as the Philippines’ long-standing trading partner in sugar, had set an initial quota of 142,160.00 MT raw value (MTRV) or 136,201.00 MT commercial weight (MTCW) for the Philippines to fulfill.
SRA Board Member Beltran said before that there’s a need for the Philippines to set aside portion of the country’s sugar production to the US despite the tight supply because the country can’t afford to lose it as a market, especially when there’s going to be an excess.
But over the past years, the country’s sugar production has been failing to meet the local demand, prompting SRA to allow the importation of sugar several times.
In a Senate resolution last year, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and SRA to convert the A sugar to B sugar, saying that the country’s production target is way lower than the consumption, which is estimated to be at 2.4 million MT.
The locally produced sugar that goes to US is called “A sugar,” while the ones that stay here for domestic consumption is called ‘B sugar.’