HCM CITY (VNS)— Faced with low demand for sugar, low prices, large stockpiles, and illegal imports, the Viet Nam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA) has sought permission from the Government to export small volumes of sugar.
But a decision has yet to be announced.
While waiting for it, several firms have already exported small quantities.
At present sugar prices are around VND13,900 per kilogramme (US$0.66), VND300-500 less than before Tet last month, which represent big losses to producers.
But with demand stagnant and production significantly up, the sector has stockpiles amounting to more than 414,000 tonnes as of last week.
"The main reason for the situation is that the fight against smuggling and fraud is ineffective and smuggling of sugar heavily impacts the local market," Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper quoted Nguyen Hai, the general secretary of the VSSA, as saying.
According to figures from the VSSA, smuggling has been increasing relentlessly reaching 400,000 tonnes per year. The low prices of smuggled sugar — mostly from Thailand — have dragged down prices in the market.
Sugar smuggling has been brazenly occurring for a long time, but authorities only seize a few hundred tonnes every year.
The sugarcane farmer is also badly affected as a result.
"I am not sure if the price will go up when the Ministry of Industry and Trade allows export of sugar," Co Tri Dung, general director of the Soc Trang Sugarcane and Sugar Joint Stock Company, said.
But it is a fact that if large amounts of sugar can be exported, smuggled Thai sugar will flood the market and cause more losses for the industry and economy." — VNS