|Sugar packaged at Sơn Dương Sugar and Sugarcane Company. — VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh|
HÀ NỘI — The sale of sugar was facing difficulties since the beginning of October, causing problems for sugar producers in recent days, according to the Sugar and Sugarcane Association.
Phạm Quốc Doanh, the association’s chairman, said sugar plants produced some 10,000 tonnes sugar from October 10, plus 300,000 tonnes inventory. However, it was difficult to sell even one kilo although sugar prices were low -- nearing VNĐ12,000 per kilo -- and despite increasing demand for sugar for the production of goods for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.
Doanh said firms appeared to be waiting until early 2018 to purchase sugar at low prices. Under commitments of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), from 2018, there will be no cap on sugar imports from member countries, with import tax rate at 5 per cent.
Doanh was worried this would cause sugar prices to dip, pushing sugar producers into a lot of difficulties, especially small-sized plants that could face the risk of shutting down.
The association previously proposed to the Prime Minister to extend the time for implementing ATIGA’s commitments from 2018 to 2020, or even 2022.
In addition, the association proposed that the tax rate for sugar import out of quota would be reduced by 50 per cent to 40 per cent for raw sugar and 45 per cent for refined sugar.
In response, the Prime Minister asked relevant ministries to consider the association’s proposals and submit its report before October 30.
Sugar plants are preparing to harvest the 2017-18 crop, which will begin in early November.
There are 41 sugar plants with total designed capacity of some 150,000 tonnes per day. In the 2016-17 crop, more than 1.2 million tonnes sugar were produced.
In the first nine months of this year, Việt Nam exported 43,000 tonnes of sugar, worth $20.6 million, to 28 markets, according to the association’s statistics. — VNS