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PH lowers sugar allocation for US

/ 12:10 AM January 25, 2017

Sugar regulators have reduced the share of locally produced sugar intended for the United States market as they weigh uncertainties about the new Trump administration’s appetite for imports.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) issued Sugar Order No. 1-A dated Jan. 20, which earmarks 6 percent of total domestic production to the stock meant to fulfill the Philippines US quota allocation.

This means that, based on the output goals spelled out in the previously issued SO No. 1, 135,000 tons of the target 2.25 million tons of sugar output for the crop year 2016-2017 ending in August this year will be for shipping to the United States.

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SO No. 1 set aside 8 percent or 180,000 tons for the US market and all the rest— 92 percent or 2.15 million tons for domestic use.

SRA administrator Anna Rosario V. Paner told reporters Filipino consumers might as well enjoy the sweetness of homegrown sugar instead of the Americans.

“They are not making any commitments since there is a new administration,” Paner said.

Newly installed US President Donald Trump has made statements about prioritizing American goods for US consumers. Tuesday, (Monday in Washington), Trump signed an executive action formalizing the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc.

In May  2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it maintained the Philippines’ sugar quota allocation at 142,160 metric tons for their fiscal year 2017 that started last Oct. 1.

Data from the USTR show that the Philippines accounts for close 13 percent of about 1.12 million tons, the minimum volume of raw cane sugar that Washington is committed to allow into the US market under the World Trade Organization agreement.

Also, the Philippines has the third-largest tariff rate quota on raw cane sugar for US trade partners, after the Dominican Republic (at 185,335 tons) and Brazil (152,691 tons).

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