Sugar sector seeks help

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A group of sugar planters is seeking the government’s help in cushioning the impact of the tariff cuts on imported sugar on the local industry.

According to the Sugar Master Plan Foundation Inc., refined sugar imports in 2012 jumped by more than 24 percent to 26,453 metric tons from year-ago level, flooding the local market and displacing the produce of 3, 200 sugarcane farmers.

The group blames the tariff cuts under the Asean Free Trade Area’s (Afta) tariff reduction program for the flooding of sugar imports in the local market.

Under the Afta-Common Effective Preferential Treatment (CEPT), the tariff on sugar was slashed to 28 percent in 2012 from 38 percent. The rate will further drop to 18 percent this year, 10 percent in 2014 and 5 percent by 2015.

As tariff drops to 18 percent this year from 28 percent in 2012, SMPF executive director Felixberto T. Monasterio said sugar planters were expecting further surge in imports.

To help the industry cope with the tariff adjustments, the group is asking the government to accredit sugar-related facilities as economic zones under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. This will entitle the sector to incentives and government support.

“We are not asking for subsidies or special treatment. We just want a little help,” he said.

The group also asked the government to earmark for the industry’s research and development projects 15 percent of the value-added tax collected on the sales of sugar products.

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  • rickysgreyes

    The sugar industry used to be highly protected with tariffs in the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, the sugar barons relied on government protection, sat back-relaxed and raked in the profits. That is, they did not invest in modernization. When import liberalization started in the 90s, they could not compete. The Government has given them too much in the past but they failed to capitalize. If ever the government wants to help (again), it should be in the form of tax cuts for a period of, say, five years only, just to give them time enough to modernize.

  • oh_noh

    what do you expect from an imported-oriented country whose main export is mainly ofw’s?!?!?!

    import = easy gain for businessmen, just wait for the goods and distribute.
    export = time/labor consuming, high overhead costs… should benefit many small people but now killing them due to a strong peso (but still sky-rocketing commodity prices)

    cheers to a strong economy – in paper!

  • Mamerto

    Why not amend the AFTA Tariff Agreement.

    It has been done in other Agreements…, Tariff or Otherwise.

  • Ben

    And to think that the Ethanol fuel previously touted as the savior of the sugar industry is just languishing from neglect after being passed and implemented. Like any other business, growth can be attained if it is taken cared of, carefully researched how much sugars is required from the domestic industry to supply it and how much Ethanol should be used to displace the imported oil from our domestic fuel market, this is two industries with a potential to give the Philippines large savings for more growth and development. Not because we already passed the Ethanol law, we should no longer nurture it, we should think long term. That`s how you stunt and help fail the Philippines from its developmental effort in terms of technology, research and development.

    • Mamerto


      Because…, the production of sugar comes mostly from Negros Occidental…, and
      Negros Occidental does NOT HAVE a SINGLE SENATOR.

      Note: A similar situation is also happening in the Tourism Industry of the Province.

      • Ben

        Make it bigger…thinj not only the benefit or no benefit of Negros. It doesn`t matter whether they do not have any senator, what matters is that the sugar they produce will benefit the larger population of the Philippines through ethanol content of the fuel we import. If the import requires billion of dollars in cost, think about of the ethanol produced and mixed to that and we can halves the cost of fuel to only millions…saving us more money by keeping the profits inside the country….

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