Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he will ask for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to give Coca Cola Femsa Philippines six months to change its facilities to accommodate the use of local sugar in beverage production.
Coca Cola earlier appealed for the suspension of an order by the Sugar Regulatory Administration which regulates the entry of high fructose corn syrup. The order mandates that an importer or consignee of imported fructose be a duly registered international trader with the SRA.
Piñol earlier said he wanted to hold in abeyance the SRA order because of complaints from big beverage companies. “I told them that we are willing to give them six months to adjust and they are happy. We are willing to give them time so that they can process raw sugar into what they need for sugar production. They even said that they are willing to buy more local sugar from us,” Piñol said.
Coca Cola said its facilities were designed for the use of HFCS. “The [SRA] order greatly affected our production. What we we asking is time to adjust,” said Coca Cola director for legal and corporate affairs Juan Lorenzo Tañada.
He said changing Coke’s facilities would involve a few million dollars.