THE EXPORT Development Council (EDC) has asked the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to give food exporters a permanent allocation of the sweetener in a bid to enhance the industry’s global market competitiveness, a business group said in a statement on Friday.

The request came following a breakthrough deal with SRA that pushed through amid a bumper harvest, giving food exporters access to a fixed quota from September to August next year, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PhilExport) said. “The agreement has saved the exporters from high tariff rates slapped on imported sugar. Sugar is the last remaining commercial crop in the Philippines that is protected by high tariff shields both under the country’s commitments to the World Trade Organization and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) free trade bloc,” the exporter’s statement read.

However, a permanent reserve would help the agriculture-based sector do away with the hassle of importing sugar by giving it easy access to a critical ingredient for preserved fruit snacks and beverage mixes.

“EDC executive director Senen [M.] Perlada had asked SRA administrator Regina [B.] Martin to allocate at least 1% of the yearly production of cane sugar to the food export industry that are in the roster of SRA,” the statement read.

Sought for comment, Roberto C. Amores, Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Association, Inc. president and PhilExport food trustee, said in an interview: “A meeting was also arranged recently by [Agriculture] Secretary [Proceso J.] Alcala between SRA [Ms. Martin] and me regarding our long-time request for the restoration of the allocation.”

“Administrator Martin, together with the [Agriculture] Secretary assured me that this will be worked out soon, “ Mr. Amores added. -- Eliza J. Diaz

source: bworldonline

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