Last May 5, heads of the different sugar farmers’ federations across the country led by Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Regina Bautista-Martin met with Customs Commissioner Angelito A. Alvarez to convey their full support to the efforts of the Bureau of Customs against sugar smuggling, including the BoC’s plan to impose a 38-percent tariff on refined sugar with other ingredients or refined sugar premixes with very high sugar content.

Manuel Lamata, president of the United Sugar Producers’ Federation of the Philippines, Inc. said: “Mr. Commissioner, you can count on the sugar industry’s full support, and we shall assist you in every way we can. We have your back.”

One of the issues taken up during the meeting was the increasing volume of imports of refined sugar that contains other ingredients which, after laboratory analysis conducted by SRA on the samples taken, were found to contain more than 99 percent to a high of 99.7 percent refined sugar.

“This refined sugar premixes have the physical appearance, color, and texture of refined sugar. It is used the same way as sugar, and SRA considers it as sugar.

Thus, this should be taxed by the BoC as sugar, according to Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc. director Bernardo C. Trebol.

Imports of refined sugar premixes are currently imposed a tariff of zero percent, and the sugar industry is calling on the BoC to assess a higher tariff of 38 percent based on the SRA laboratory findings of more than 99-percent refined sugar content.

National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, Inc. president Enrique Rojas, Jr. said: “The government agency on sugar has determined it to be sugar. And as of now, no impartial, convincing, and sufficient proof is proffered to counter the findings of SRA. We in the sugar industry are asking Commissioner Alvarez to lend credence on the findings of a fellow agency of government and subject these imports to a higher tariff. ”

source: journal


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