Bukidnon senator calls for investigation on reported technical smuggling of sugar

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Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has filed Senate Resolution 517 seeking an investigation on the reported technical smuggling of sugar resulting to loss in government revenues and possible collapse of the local sugar industry.

Quoting reports from the National Federation of Sugar Planters, Inc., Zubiri in SR 517 noted that in recent months, there had been an increase in the importation of sugar premixes or about one million 50-kilo bags of premixed sugar in 2010. However, laboratory analysis from the Sugar Regulatory Administration revealed that imported sugar premixes contain more than 95% refined sugar.

As such, the importation should have been subjected to 38% tariff and could have been considered a form of technical smuggling.

Under the existing Tariff Code, premix products containing less than 65% of sugar is tariff-free while importation of sugar premix which exceeds the allowable percentage carries a tariff of 38 percent.

Based on the estimate of the Confederation of Sugar Producers’ Association, Inc. (CONFED), the government should have collected more than 750 million in revenues from a ” beverage company” for importing one million bags of sugar premix that were declared as “sugar containing added flavoring or coloring” from January 2010 to March 2011.

The Bureau of Customs after a meeting with SRA Administrator Ma. Regina Bautista Martin has already issued an order requiring the submission of SRA laboratory analysis on all imported sugar premixed concentrates last March 3, 2011.

Zubiri, however, argued that if these sugar premix importations containing more than the allowable sugar content remain unabated, these could lead to the collapse of the local sugar industry, loss of livelihood and employment of millions of workers.

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