Piñol wants to freeze rules on syrup imports
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he is seeking an authorization from President Rodrigo Duterte to hold the implementation of Sugar Order No. 3 which regulates the entry of high-fructose corn syrup.
Piñol said beverage companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola claimed they were not consulted before the release of the sugar order.
“The problem with SRA’s Sugar Order No. 3 is it regulated the importation of HFCS used by Coke in producing their softdrinks. They appealed because any change in the type of sugar that they will use in production will involve changing their machineries and equipment,” Piñol said.
Piñol said Coke and Pepsi’s equipments were designed for HFCS.
Sugar Regulatory Administration Administrator Anna Paner earlier issued sugar order No. 3 which sets the guidelines on the issuance of clearance for the release of imported HFCS and chemically pure fructose.
Paner said there was a reported increase in the volume of sugar imported into the country particularly HFCS which resulted in the drop of mill site prices of sugar.
She said SRA received several complaints from sugar farmers, millers and workers that the unregulated importation of HFCS displaced the use of locally-produced sugar.
The order mandates that an importer or consignee of imported fructose should be a duly registered international trader with SRA at the time of the application for clearance for release.
Paner said any movement or transport of imported fructose for whether for warehousing, consumption or for coastwise transport shall require a shipping permit and the payment to SRA of a corresponding shipping fee.
Coca Cola Femsa Philippines Inc. filed before the regional trial court branch 98 in Quezon City an urgent issuance of a temporary restraining order to prevent SRA and the Bureau of Customs from implementing the sugar order.
“My recommendation to the president is for him to authorize me to hold in abeyance Sugar Order No. 3, pending proper consultations with the stakeholders,” Piñol said.