Millers bat for lower tariff on sugar imports
- by Rommel Ynion () - May 3, 2001 - 12:00am
Sugar millers urged recently the government to lower tariffs on sugar imports to stabilize the price of the commodity in the local market.

Francisco Varua, chairman of the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA), said investments in the country’s sugar sector would pour in amid a "healthier environment consisting of manageable tariffs."

"If government has the right policies for local sugar, then we can stabilize prices and no one else would benefit from it but the consumers in the end," Varua added.

Varua pointed out that the release of the P278 million in ACEF fund would help prices reach equilibrium level owing to its function of cushioning the impact of market forces inimical to the local sugar industry.

The ACEF fund recently approved by Malacanang has also been perceived to be a catalyst for growth since with its over P1.4 billion even sugar workers could expect to enjoy "social safety nets".

The agriculture department has established the Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI), funded by the ACEF, for the social security of sugar workers who have clamored for livelihood projects especially during "off" season.

"Price stability allows the industry to formulate strategies and plans that should result in encouraging sugar producers and millers to make investments that will further enhance their competitiveness and ensure greater returns," he added.

Jose Mari Zabaleta, executive director of the PSMA, said a review of the policies related to the sugar industry, such as the country’s approach to world market forces, could also help promote growth in this sector.

ACEF FRANCISCO VARUA INDUSTRY JOSE MARI ZABALETA LOCAL MALACANANG PHILIPPINE SUGAR MILLERS ASSOCIATION SUGAR SUGAR INDUSTRY FOUNDATION VARUA
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