Sugar users applaud U.S.D.A. for import increase

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The Sweetener Users Association praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture for “a meaningful increase” in the sugar tariff-rate quota (T.R.Q.) announced earlier Wednesday.

“The Sweetener Users Association commends the U.S.D.A. for announcing a meaningful increase in the sugar T.R.Q. and for providing guidance to the marketplace on its policy intentions for the remainder of this year,” the group said. “The increase in the sugar T.R.Q. and the expected reallocation of a portion of the minimum T.R.Q. will be helpful in supplying markets adequately. Today’s actions should be welcomed by market participants as steps toward greater supply adequacy and more objective, transparent policies.”

The U.S.D.A. increased the 2011-12 (fiscal year 2012 ending Sept. 30, 2012) U.S. sugar supply through a combination of a 51,000 short ton, raw value, increase in the domestic Overall Allotment Quantity and reassignment of marketing allocations between beet processors, and reassignment of a 420,000-ton surplus domestic cane sugar allotment to raw sugar T.R.Q. imports effective April 19.

“U.S.D.A. acknowledged that today’s increase is not likely to be the last one needed, and in our view it would have been even more helpful had U.S.D.A. announced a quantity that would have, by itself, allowed stocks to reach U.S.D.A.’s target range.” the S.U.A. said. “However, S.U.A. is particularly appreciative that U.S.D.A. stated its stocks target clearly and also announced its intention to increase the T.R.Q. further in June, in a quantity that will allow the stocks target to be reached.”

The S.U.A. had sought a T.R.Q. increase of between 982,000 tons and 1,110,000 tons, to bring the 2011-12 ending stocks-to-use ratio to 14.5% or 15.5%, respectively. The U.S.D.A. said its target range was 13.5% to 15.5%.

The association also had requested a substantial amount of the T.R.Q. increase be for refined sugar, but the entire reallocation today was for raw sugar.

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