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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                    24  September 2011

Philippines stops Thai sugar imports

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The Philippines will no longer import sugar from Thailand this year because of a production surplus and low demand for the sweetener in the domestic market, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Friday.

“We have already communicated with our Thai counterparts that we have no intention to import sugar this crop year 2011-2012,” Ma.Regina Bautista-Martin, SRA administrator, said in a telephone interview.

The Thailand Cane and Sugar Board earlier said it was looking to export more than seven million metric tons of sugar as production reached 9.6 million metric tons (MT) this year. The TCSB also said that of the export volume, 57 percent will go to other Asean member-states.

Last year, the Philippines, through the private sector and local food exporters, imported less than 200,000 MT of Thai sugar.

The Philippines is Thailand’s fifth largest market in Asia.

“We are now closely monitoring sugar imports to prevent entry of cheap sugar. If they want to export to the Philippines, they should talk to us first,” Martin said.

The Philippines is a net exporter of sugar and protects domestic producers.

It also expects to export more than 28 percent of its production as surplus of the sweetener is expected to extend this coming 2011-2012 crop year.

As of August, the country’s sugar production reached 2.399 million MT, up by 21.73 percent from last year’s 1.970 million MT. It was also higher than the previous forecast of 1.96 million MT for the crop year that ended August.

Martin said SRA is discussing with Thai counterparts the possible measures to insulate the Philippines’ production from the prospects of tariff reduction.

“The Philippines is now studying sugar policies of Thailand to see whether it can adopt certain measures to further advance and insulate locally produced sweetener from the impact of trade liberalization on the world sugar market,” she said.

She said the Philippines should protect sugarcane farmers from the impact of foreign sugar, which is priced lower than domestic sugar.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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