Philippines sugar imports still possible, Marcos says

A MAN repacks sugar in packets at a public market in Taguig City, Aug. 27, 2008. — REUTERS/CHERYL RAVELO

MANILA – Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said the country’s doors remain open to additional sugar imports, though volumes are likely to be much less than a previously proposed 300,000 tons.

Mr. Marcos last week rejected the proposal to import up to 300,000 tons of raw and refined sweetener, purportedly approved recently by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), of which he is board chairman.

But in a vlog posted on the Office of the President’s Facebook page on Sunday, Mr. Marcos assured the public that the country has sufficient sugar supplies.

SRA officials had warned of a domestic sugar shortage before Mr. Marcos took power on June 30 and retail prices of the sweetener have risen substantially in the Philippines this year.

“Before we import sugar, let us use the supply that we have. Maybe by October the supply in the Philippines will almost be used up. Maybe then we may need to import,” Mr. Marcos said in the vlog.

“Probably, 150,000 tons is enough for the rest of the year.”

The SRA has estimated that raw sugar output in the crop year ending Aug. 31 will be 1.8 million tons, down 16% from the previous season because of crop damage from a typhoon and unfavourable weather.

The Philippines is not a regular sugar importer, but when necessary it usually buys from Thailand, the world’s second-largest sugar exporter behind Brazil. — Reuters