Sugar millers still opposing laxer imports

October 4, 2019
Othel V. Campos (Manila Standard) |

The Philippine Sugar Millers Association on Wednesday reiterated its position against sugar import liberalization after 24 lawmakers opposed the measure.

The congressmen signed House Resolution 412 to express their strong opposition to the planned liberalization of sugar imports.

“We are grateful for the support given to the sugar industry. They have defended us from the time we were fighting for the passage of the Sugar Industry Development Act and for the increase in excise taxes on sweetened beverages using imported high-fructose corn syrup,” said PSMA executive director Cocoy Barrera, 

The resolution cited the economic bulletin issued by the Finance Department that called for the removal of quantitative restrictions on sugar imports. 

Barrera said “sugar producing countries worldwide, not just the Philippines, have measures that effectively protect their sugar industries against subsidized sugar in the world market.”

Major sugar exporting countries can afford to dump their excess sugar production in the world market because they provide subsidies and other forms of protection, such as domestic and export support prices to their sugar farmers and industries, he said.

The US also has an existing policy to regulate sugar importation to effectively protect its farmers from the rise and fall of prices in the world market.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said domestic sugar costs twice the world market price, affecting the competitiveness of the food processing industry.

“It is unfair and incorrect to say that locally produced sugar renders Philippine food exporters uncompetitive in the world market. Food processors import sugar duty-free and tax-free through their custom bonded warehouses,” Barrera said.