WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 30 increased the 2010-11 tariff rate quota (T.R.Q.) for imported refined sugar by 150,000 tons, raw value, beginning Oct. 4, and also extended the date the additional sugar may enter the United States to Nov. 30, 2011, two months past the Sept. 30 end of the current marketing year.

“This action is being taken after a determination that additional supplies of refined sugar are necessary to reduce risks associated with adverse weather or other supply disruptions,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Harvest of the upcoming sugar beet crop is significantly slower than in recent years. U.S.D.A. will continue to closely monitor stocks, consumption, imports and all sugar market and program variables on an ongoing basis.”

The Sweetener Users Association commended the U.S.D.A. “for providing a badly-needed increase” in the T.R.Q. for imported refined sugar following the U.S.D.A. announcement.

“Consumers and businesses that use sugar have experienced inordinately tight sugar supplies, and record-high sugar prices, largely because of the federal sugar program,” the Sweetener Users Association said. “Within the constraints that have been set by Congress, the Department has in recent months made a positive, good-faith effort to administer sugar import quotas in a balanced fashion, and we appreciate this approach.”