The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc. (Confed) said it opposes the reduction of sugar tariffs, saying the move will “jeopardize” the livelihood of farmers.
Representing Confed, Rosemarie Gumera said planters have thumbed down the cut in the most favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form.
Citing data from Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), Gumera said 80,000 sugarcane farmers with about 90 percent considered as “small” will be harmed by the tariff reduction.
She also noted that more than 700,000 workers of the industry in the farms, sugar centrals, refineries, industry logistics, tractor/farm machinery repair shops, implement fabrication industries, ancillary services, among others, will also be affected.
Aside from the livelihood of the farmers and workers, Gumera also noted that the industry has “very huge investments in sugar mills and refineries” and are already considered large taxpayers in the country.
She said there are “billions of capital investments and working capital of sugar factories (minimum P200 billion), farmers (minimum P100 billion), fertilizer business (minimum P10 billion), equipment suppliers and fabricators, truckers/haulers and other upstream/downstream industries which keep the Philippine economy afloat.”
Gumera also noted that the industry has already generated “millions of jobs” which she said will slowly shrink and may eventually collapse.
Under the cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form heading in the matrix presented by the Tariff Commission, the current MFN rates of the said tariff lines range from 50 to 65 percent.
During the same public hearing, Golden Arches Development Corp. again pushed for the removal of tariffs on frozen potatoes amid rising consumer prices.
“We would just like to reiterate that we are appealing to the Tariff Commission with regard to our proposition to have a zero percent tariff rate with regard to non-rice products specifically frozen potatoes,” said Jose Gabrielle G. Petrache, Public Affairs and Sustainability Manager at Golden Arches.
Petrache said the tariff rate imposed on frozen potatoes will “most probably aggravate the already negative effects of the already increasing consumer prices brought about by the unprecedented levels of inflation.”
He said scrapping the tariffs on frozen potatoes will help hasten the recovery of local businesses from the effects of the pandemic.
Petrache noted that the removal of tariffs on frozen potatoes will have “no adverse impact” on the local industry.