Reps. Ferrer, Cueva file bill probing sugar price drop; Sen. Zubiri says industry faces ‘bigger fight’ in WTO
Congresswoman Juliet Marie D. Ferrer of the 4th District of Negros Occ. and Congressman Leo Rafael M. Cueva of the Second District filed House Resolution No. 1497 in Congress, urging the Special Committee on Visayas development, to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation, on the spiraling prices of sugar.
SUGARY ISSUES. At Saturday’s press conference, Sen. Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri (3rd from left) says high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is just a by-product of China and is bad for health, and its dumping or entry in the Philippines must be prevented or else the sugar industry will die. From left, Unifed pres. Manuel Lamata, NFSP pres. Nene Rojas, Sen. Zubiri, and SRA board member representing the planters, Atty. Dino Yulo.* (Arman Toga photo)
The resolution states, that due to the increase of imported high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the country enjoying zero duty, the mill site price of sugar has drastically declined. The increased importation of HFCS from China took away nearly thirty percent of the refined sugar market from domestic sugar industry. As per record , the composite price of sugar dropped to P1,163.20 per lkg. as of November 12, 2017 compared to the P1,720.23 per lkg for the crop year 2016-2017.”
It stated also that, the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the retail price of refined sugar and raw sugar had reached P55 per kilogram and P44.50 per kilogram, respectively. The unregulated importation of the HFCS displaces the use of locally produced sugar and, thereby, negatively affects the balance of production, threatens the livelihood of industry workers and impedes the growth of the sugar industry.
“It is hereby resolved by the House of Representatives, urging the Special Committee on Visayas Development to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the spiralling of sugar and to recommend remedial measures, if necessary,” it added.* (JUN DE LOS REYES)
BIGGER FIGHT BEFORE WTO
‘The sugar industry is facing a bigger fight against multi-national corporations in the World Trade Organization (WTO), Sen.Juan Miguel Zubiri said Sunday in a press conference at Nature’s Village in Talisay City.
Zubiri who also met with leaders of the sugar industry said that an official of the Department of Finance informed him that big corporations will bring the issue of tax disparity between domestic sugar and imported high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the WTO.
The issue is an offshoot of the passage of the bicameral committee of both the Senate and the House of Representatives imposing a P3 excise tax on local sugar and P10 excise tax on imported HFCS.
“ HFCS is a heavily subsidized product in other coutries,” the senator pointed out.
Zubiri said the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines should study and hire the best world trade lawyer they can for this fight
In his speech before the bi-cam, he said that if we don’t tax HFCS higher than sugar, “patay na ang industriya”. We are looking at five million people directly and indirectly involved, Zubiri said.*(NDB)