VIETNAM: Sugar producers want government to scrap quotas
Published: 07/31/2012, 8:28:56 AM
The Viet Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA) has called on the Government to scrap its system of setting individual sugar import quotas for food processing enterprises, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Nguyen Hai, chairman of the association, said the Government should import a certain amount of sugar and then invite bids to balance supply and demand.
Businesses which offered the best prices would be the winning tenders.
Hai said the mechanism would create transparency while ensuring enterprises' demands for sugar are met.
In an interview with the Viet Nam News, VSSA's general secretary Ha Huu Phai said that under a World Trade Organisation commitment, Viet Nam was required to open its sugar market by allowing imports every year. In 2005, the country imported 25,000 tonnes, 2010 saw 70,000 tonnes imported, and the maximum this year would also be 70,000 tonnes.
Food processing businesses have said that a shortage of sugar was to blame for production problems, but sugar refineries have refuted the claims.
Phai said producers had asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to provide an import quota as global prices were always lower than domestic prices for sugar.
Do Thanh Liem, general director of Khanh Hoa Sugar Joint Stock Company agreed, adding that it would be unfair if the ministry granted import quotas for some producers because the country had thousands of businesses involved in the sector.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company has asked the MoIT for approval to import 100,000 tonnes of sugar next year with a low import tax rate of 2.5%.
The agriculture and rural development ministry's statistics showed that by the end of last month sugar refineries produced 1.3 million tonnes of sugar, about 160,000 tonnes more than the same period last year.
By middle of this month, sugar inventories at refineries added up to 240,000 tonnes