Legislative Yuan deregulates domestic sugar market

Jan 28, 2005 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι General Items Ι By Ben, CENS
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Taipei, Jan. 28, 2005 (CENS)--The Legislative Yuan has officially ratified revisions to import tariffs law, fully liberalizing sugar imports by slashing customs duties and calling off import quota system.

According to the revised regulations, import duty on crude sugar is cut to 6.25% from the past 12.5%, and that on refined sugar will remain unchanged at 17.5%.

Deputy Economic Minister Chen Ruey-long said the liberalized sugar import policy would benefit consumers, firms relying on sugar as material, sugar importers, sugarcane farmers, and the state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp.

In the past, the Ministry of Economic Affairs implemented a strict quota system on imported sugar in a bid to protect the right of domestic sugarcane farmers. At that time, sugar imports allowed by MOEA were equivalent to one-third of yearly sugar consumption, or approximately 200,000 metric tons. Sugar importers had to pay royalties to struggle for sugar import quotas and have long called for free imports.

Considering protecting the rights of both sugar importers and sugarcane farmers, the Cabinet finally agreed to increase amounts of imported sugar and slash, rather than totally scrap, customs duties on imported sugar.

Chen noted the state-run Taiwan Sugar would continue to offer guarantee prices to procure sugarcanes grown by domestic farmers so as to protect their rights.

Nevertheless, Taiwan Sugar will face heavy operating pressure in the wake of sugar import liberalization. To reduce the operating pressure, the state-run company has resolved to retain the operation of only two sugar plants around the island with the scrapped ones being transformed into tourism and leisure operations.
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