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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, March 24, 2018
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No sugar conversion yet - SRA


“As far as I know, there is no conversion of ‘D’ (world market sugar) to ‘B’ (domestic market sugar),” Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica of the Sugar Regulatory Administration said yesterday.

“This matter has not been taken up by the (sugar) board. Rest assured that all proposals if any, will be reviewed, studied and weighed thoroughly by the board before deciding accordingly for the good of the industry,” he said.

The National Federation of Sugarcane Planters, Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations and the General Alliance of Workers AssociationsThursday aired their opposition to the proposed conversion of “D” sugar to “B” saying it would further drive down domestic millgate sugar prices.

They are also opposing the sale of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in the domestic market.

Sugar Board Member Emilio “Dino” Yulo III said yesterday he supports the position of the sugarcane industry stakeholders.

The industry stakeholders were airing their opposition as a preemptive measure, he said.

Yulo reiterated that the “D” quedans are already in the hands of the traders who are the ones who will benefit from the difference between the low-priced “D” sugar and the higher-priced “B” sugar if such conversion is allowed, and not the planters.

They bought the “D” sugar at P600 and P650 per Lkg and if converted to “B” will sell at current domestic prices of from P1,560 to P1,580, Yulo said.

“The proposed conversion is ‘double murder’ against the sugar producers,” Enrique Rojas, NFSP president, said Thursday,

The additional supply of sugar in the domestic market, when the milling season is at its peak, will significantly drive down domestic sugar prices, when sugar producers are only partially recovering from low sugar prices in the past years, due to HFCS importation, Rojas said.

Yulo said there is a pending request by Pepsi Cola to release the HFCS it brought into the country late last year, into the domestic market, which, if done, will also drive down prices of domestically produced sugar.

He said that after the HFCS arrived in the country last year the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusionlaw was passed imposing taxes on sweetened beverages. Under TRAIN those using sugar pay a lower tax rate of P6 per liter while those using HFCS are taxed P12 per liter, Yulo pointed out.

Yulo said that because of that, the beverage firm asked that the HFCS that had entered into the country be classified as “C” or reserve sugar and later asked that it be converted to “D” so it could be exported out of the country.

However, they have been unable to export the HFCS out of the country which prompted the request for reclassification to “B” for the domestic market, Yulo added.

The pending request has not been acted on by the Sugar Board yet, he added.*CPG


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