ASEAN sugar seen generating most savings if PHL imports

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SUGAR imports from within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to yield the Philippines savings of $480.82 per metric ton, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Imports from ASEAN are subject to more favorable trade terms than goods from trade partners enjoying Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, for which savings are estimated at $128.02 per metric ton, the USDA said in a report.

“If the Philippines were to honor its commitments under the (World Trade Organization) and ASEAN… sugar prices are estimated to decline by $480/MT from ASEAN and $128/MT, at 50% tariff… if outside ASEAN,” the USDA said.

Last year, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is expediting the import of 64,050 MT of refined sugar to stabilize prices of the sweetener.

The DA said it is convening the minimum access volume (MAV) advisory council to facilitate imports via the MAV mechanism.

MAV governs the volumes of agricultural import commodities that a WTO signatory must admit from trading partners, essentially a commitment by members not to completely close off their markets to foreign products.

“Through its membership in the WTO, the Philippines bound itself to the implementation of a tariff-rate quota on sugar, wherein MFN trading partners are entitled to export 64,050 MT each year at an in-quota tariff of 50%,” the USDA said in its report. — Ashley Erika O. Jose