China’s Sugar Refiners Call for More Out-Of-Quota Import Permits In 2018

Chinese sugar refineries are planning to lobby Beijing to increase out-of-quota sugar imports next year, according to three sources familiar with the matter, after the government took several steps to curb shipments this year.

Major sugar refiners in the world’s top buyer of the commodity proposed at an industry conference on Wednesday that the government should resume import permits for the sweetener at 1.9 million tonnes for 2018, to ease tight supplies for the raw material, according to two of the sources.

“We hope to import more. Business will be easier if we can get more quotas. Many plants can’t operate at a normal rate due to shortages of raw materials,” said a sugar refinery manager who attended the meeting.

The proposal for more import permits was going to be sent to Beijing for review and final approval, the sources said, although details on the timing were not clear.

The appeal comes after China almost halved its out-of-quota sugar import permits this year to only 1 million.

Beijing also imposed extra tariffs on out-of quota imports for the next three years in May, after years of lobbying by domestic mills.

China allows 1.94 million tonnes of sugar imports a year at a tariff of 15 percent as part of its commitments to the World Trade Organization. Shipments brought in outside of that quota – out-of-quota imports – are charged at a higher tariff and are subject to permitting.

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