Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III instructed the Bureau of Customs look out for possible sugar smuggling
Some traders are reportedly exporting sugar only to replace it with imports of the commodity in much bigger volumes
BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said he has long coordinated with the Sugar Regulatory Administration to ensure traders secure prior clearance from the bureau to import sugar
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has instructed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to be on the lookout for possible sugar smuggling. This follows reports certain traders are exporting sugar and then importing the commodity in volumes bigger than what they have exported.
“The sugar price domestically is much higher than the world market price. So there is going to be an incentive for people to smuggle in sugar,” Dominguez said during a recent Department of Finance (DOF) executive committee meeting.
Dominguez also told Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero of reports from Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Cebu officials about a company authorized to export sugar but which has allegedly been “shrewdly replacing” overseas shipments with volumes way higher than what it has been exporting.
“Please keep an eye on those gaps,” Dominguez told Guerrero.
As for BIR, deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said he has long been coordinating with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to ensure traders secure prior clearance from the bureau to import sugar, in compliance with Dominguez’s earlier directive.
Under the export replenishment program of the SRA, exporters of “A” sugar/quedans, which is for sale to the US at a preferential rate, may import the commodity in raw or refined form to replace the volume they sold overseas.
This replenishment scheme aims to ensure the supply of sugar remains stable in the domestic market.
The importation is allowed provided the volume of sugar an exporter may import does not exceed the volume of “A” sugar/quedans exported.
The SRA classifies sugar into “A” for sugar for export to the US, “B” for domestic consumption, “C” for reserves, “D” for export to countries other than the US and “E” for food local processors.
The Philippines is one of the select countries given an annual allocation of sugar exports to the US market.