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SRA wants sugar quota allocation from Japan

Malaya, Philippines

SRA wants sugar quota allocation from Japan

10 December 2012

By Madelaine Cabrera

The government is asking Japan that Filipino sugar exporters be given a regular quota of 150,000-200,000 metric tons per year under the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).

Rosemarie Gumera, SRA manager for planning and policy said that the agency is currently asking for higher premium for sugar export to Japan.

“The proposed sugar quota allocation would be bigger than what the United States grants the Philippines,” she said.

The government also wants Japan to slash to zero duty Philippine farm exports to Japan.

Gumera said that Tokyo has failed to reciprocate for reduced tariff on farm products as agreed upon under PJEPA.

Both countries are currently reviewing the in a bid to renegotiate commitments made under the accord.

The Philippines, has a regular sugar quota of 138,827 MT for crop year 2012 to 2013 with the United States.

Once the Japanese quota is given, will be able to expand our market and not rely entirely on US, Gumera said.

She added, however, that SRA has to discuss their appeal with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is the lead negotiator for the Philippine panel.

“We want agricultural issues, particularly the sugar quota allocation, to be the focal point of the negotiation. The discussions are now ongoing, however, we have not heard anything from the DTI,” Gumera said.

In crop year 2012-2013, the Philippines expect sugar production to reach 2.3 to 2.4 million metric tons, or five percent higher than the total production of 2.243 million MT in the crop year ending August 2012.

Of the total production, the agency has allocated 10 percent to the US, 82 percent to the domestic market, and eight percent to the world market

With the allocation, the country will be able to meet the regular US quota of 138,827 MT, a buffer stock for possible additional US quota of around 61,993 MT, around 2.03 million MT of domestic demand (including buffer stocks) and around 247,000 MT for the world market.

Earlier, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano, who attended a recent review of the JPEPA, said they want Japan to give at least 200,000 MT of in-quota sugar allocation to the Philippines.

The JPEPA is a bilateral agreement intended to liberalize trade, investments and labor relations between the two countries. Serrano said that they are seeking for the review of the JPEPA based on Japan’s failure to fulfill its own commitments under the agreement.

“Not just sugar. We want them [Japan] to bring down to zero all their agricultural tariffs to reciprocate our own reduction of tariff,” Serrano said, stressing that the Philippines has been ahead in reducing its tariff wall compared to Japan.

The DA official said that they are now negotiating with their Japanese counterparts at least 1,300 tariff lines for agricultural products – including Philippine pineapples, banana, mangoes and other high value crops.