Tariff pushed on sugar imports
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for the adoption of a similar system as rice tariffication on sugar wherein imports would be allowed to enter the country with a tariff.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters the proposal would involve allowing sugar imports as long as tariffs are paid as a form of protection to sugar producers.

He said the proposed 35 percent tariff to be paid for imports is still subject to consultation.

“It has to be similar to what is planned on rice tariffication which is open to all. We will probably devise a system, assuming there will be a quota system, so we will not flood the market to the detriment of the farmers. We have to develop a fair system on how to allocate the quota,” he said.

The rice tariffication bill which was approved at the House of Representatives on second reading earlier this week,  imposes tariffs on rice imports in place of quotas.

Lopez said the proposal on adopting a similar system on sugar, has been discussed with the economic managers.

While there is general acceptance of the proposal, he said there is still a need to work on the details on how to move forward.

“The principle is one that should result in lower cost of imported sugar, but being sensitive also to the price such that, sugar producers are not displaced. We have to be careful with that, the concern of the farmers. There needs to be a balance. What is happening now is domestic price is so high compared to global,” he said.

He said the price would be lower by half if imported without fees.

Discussions are being undertaken on how the proposal would be implemented.

“Hopefully, (in) one month, we should have a policy there,” Lopez said.

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