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Guatemala asks Peru to reduce sugar tariffs, launch FTA

Peru This Week

Guatemala asks Peru to reduce sugar tariffs, launch FTA

22 August 2013

By Diego M. Ortiz

The Central American nation of Guatemala has not exported sugar to Peru since June of last year due to an increase of tariffs implemented by the Andean country over the past year, El Comercio reported.

The sales of sweetener came to a halt in June 2012 at 3,064 tons when Peru established new tariffs, according to Mario Yarzebski, an expert in commercial negotiations for the Association of Sugar Producers (Asazgua).

The newly imposed taxes forced Guatemala to report Peru’s actions to the World Trade Organization, which will analyze the problem upon the creation of a special group.

According to Guatemala’s minister of economy, Sergio de la Torre, his country has sought an amicable agreement with Peru but so far it has failed to do so.

Before the implantation of the tariffs, Guatemala exported 71,084 tons of sugar into Peru in 2011-2012.

According to statistics released by of Asazgua, the 2012-2013 sugar harvest produced 2,782,693 metric tons, and of these 1,819,450 were for export.

The country that buys the most sugar from Guatemala is China, with around 341,218 tons, followed by South Korea with 243,723 tons. Chile and the U.S. buy a combined 220,000 tons.

Last July the Guatemalan Congress ratified the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed with Peru in December 2011.

Now both countries must agree on the date to launch the agreement. Upon launch, the FTA would allow the exchange of more than 5,000 products, such as textiles and clothing, sweets, chocolates, agro products, food and petroleum products