The nation’s sugar industry might be harmed by increased imports of sugar if the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s proposal to import an additional 200,000 tonnes is approved.
Under the proposal, the total amount of imported sugar in Việt Nam could rise to 335,000 tonnes, including 85,000 tonnes included in the import quota called for in the nation’s WTO commitments; 50,000 tonnes imported by Hoàng Anh Gia Lai from Laos and the proposed 200,000 tonnes. In addition, there are hundreds of tonnes of sugar smuggled into the country each year.
The Agro-Forestry, Seafood Processing and Salt Industry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the proposal followed the issuance of the report from the Việt Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association.
That report indicated that Việt Nam was expected to produce some 1.2 million tonnes of sugar, a reduction caused by droughts and salt water infiltration of farm lands, while the nation’s total demand for sugar was forecast at 1.6 million tonnes. The country, therefore, would see a shortage of 400,000 tonnes of sugar.
The MoIT said that the country would need a large amount of sugar this summer. This was the reason they proposed importing 200,000 tonnes of sugar, said Lê Văn Bảnh, the department’s director.
The prices of locally produced sugar have always been 20 per cent higher than imported sugar. For this reason, an increased amount of imported sugar could cause pressure on domestic sugarcane factories and farmers.
Bảnh warned that the MoIT should be careful in considering the proposal to import 200,000 additional tonnes of sugar.
“We ask MoIT to collect ideas from four ministries, including MARD, Finance, Planning and Investment and Government Office, on the amount of imported sugar”, he added.
By the end of last month, the reported inventory at sugarcane factories was more than 300,000 tonnes, while commercial companies belonging to the association had over 25,000 tonnes. -- VNS