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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       16  February 2011

Vietnam ups sugar import quotas

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade has given permission to 24 enterprises to import sugar up to July this year for the domestic market, said the Ha Huu Phai, general secretary of the Viet Nam Sugar Association.

The Vietnam Dairy Corporation received the largest import quota and has been given permission to buy 65,000 tonnes of sugar. Vietnam Dairy was followed by Friesland Campina Company, which is permitted to import 15,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, Sanofi Synthelabo Vietnam has been given permission to import just 322 tonnes of sugar, the smallest quota.

The total volume of imports this year is 250,000 tonnes, 50,000 tonnes lower than last year. The ministry said the imports would help stabilise the domestic sugar prices this year. Experts said last year, import quotas had been given to domestic enterprises that had failed to buy in sugar when the world price has fallen. As result, at the end of last year, they had to import sugar when the price was relatively high to meet the growing demand on the domestic market.

The current retail price of sugar is still at a high level, averaging VND25,800 per kilo, VND2,000 higher than the price at the end of 2010.

The decision by the government to devalue the dong by 9.3 per cent to VND20,693 will put further pressure on the import price of goods.

Nguyen Thi Van, a confectionery producer, said the increased exchange rate and resultant rise in the sugar price would push up the cost of cakes, sweets and chocolate.

Tran Hong Thanh, general director of Hai Ha Confectionery Joint Stock Company, said the price of imported sugar was US$900 per tonne, against $500 per tonne in early 2010.

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