Soda makers have appealed for another round of importation of 150,000 MT (460,000 MT yearly) of premium refined sugar for their use in 2023 needed to produce carbonated drinks. The beverage makers Coca Cola Beverages Philippines (CCBPI), Pepsi Cola Products Philippines and ARC Refreshments Corporation, jointly announced their concerns, in the form of an added sugar importation proposal to the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

The SRA referred the soda makers request to the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc. (Confed) and the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP) for comments on the sugar importation proposal. Later, the SRA solicited comments on the same proposal from the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers Inc. (PANAYFED). The three federations, forming 50 percent of the country’s domestic sugar production, submitted the following comments. Thus:

– Confed asked the soft drinks industry to provide their pre-final crop estimate and demand projection calendar year 2022-2023, their specific monthly volume requirements from January to August 2023 and their proposed volume and schedule of arrival of imports;
– NFSP sought for the industry’s latest figures on the current supply and demand situation.
Both Confed and NFSP were quoted saying that (they are not against importation since they supported the issuance of Sugar Order 4 (for the importation of 300,000 MT of sugar in August 2022), which was cancelled since it was not authorized by PBBM. Further, the federation also “urged SRA to ensure that the premium refined sugar imports sought by the soda makers are actually used for their intended requirements and do not leak into the retail markets.”

Noticeable is cautious actions by the SRA management and the sugarcane planters federation in handling the issue on sugar, more so, on its appurtenant talks on importing the commodity – lesson learned from last year’s fiasco!

Also, federations prompt comments on the proposed added importation of premium refined sugar needed in carbonated-drinks production, is well taken. Both Confed and NFSP (as well as PANAYFED) deserve to be congratulated for handling the proposed additional importation of premium refined to keep alive the top taxpayer soda makers.
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