AO 13 seen to address food processors’ woes
Food processors are hopeful they would be allowed to import sugar given an administrative order issued by the Palace.
Administrative Order No. 13 aims to lift nontariff barriers and streamline procedures to facilitate the importation of agricultural commodities.
It directed the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), among other government agencies, to “temporarily allow direct importation by sugar-using industries to lower their input cost, subject to reasonable regulations.”
Local food processors are banking on AO 13 to help them in their bid to import the commodity amid the prohibitive cost of local sugar. Their call for importation, however, remains unanswered by the SRA.
This is according to a joint statement of three business groups, namely: the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Philippine Exporters Confederation and the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Confederation.
These groups had written to the SRA thrice so far, with the latest dated Sept. 26. In gist, they had asked the SRA to be allowed to import 100,000 metric tons of sugar, which would be used exclusively by the food processors.
Local food processors have expressed fear of losing their competitive edge against imported products that had access to cheaper sugar and other inputs.
Food processors in neighboring Southeast Asian countries buy their sugar at the equivalent of P26 to P28 a kilo, cheaper than the P60 to P65 a kilo in the Philippines.
“The group has not received any feedback from the SRA on the letters it submitted. However, with AO 13, the group is optimistic that SRA will implement the order,” the statement read.
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