Sugarcane industry adapting to removal of ASEAN import quotas

06:00 | 14/04/2020 Vietnam - Asean

(VEN) - Vietnam has abolished sugar import tariff quotas as of January 1 in keeping with its commitment under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

sugarcane industry adapting to removal of asean import quotas

Under ATIGA’s Article 20, Vietnam committed to remove sugar import tariff quotas on January 1, 2018. However, sugar is an essential commodity and the Vietnamese sugarcane sector involving the livelihoods of about 1.5 million farmers encountered numerous difficulties and challenges due to integration pressure. ASEAN members thus agreed to a request by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to delay implementation of Article 20 for two years to give domestic sugarcane businesses more time to prepare.

As the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam has coordinated activities and proposed initiatives to promote cooperation in an effort to ensure effective implementation of integration commitments.

To help the sugarcane sector prepare for regional integration under the ATIGA commitments, the Ministry of Industry and Trade asked the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association (VSSA) in the first quarter of 2019 to disseminate information about the planned lifting of sugar import tariff quotas among domestic businesses and farmers.

According to Cao Anh Duong, acting president of VSSA, the association and most of its member companies support Vietnam’s commitments under the ATIGA. However, to enable the Vietnamese sugarcane industry to develop and compete in the context of integration, VSSA recommended that the government and relevant ministries and sectors take appropriate measures to promote and protect the domestic sugarcane industry in accordance with general international practices.

At a recent government meeting addressing measures to resolve difficulties for the sugarcane sector, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc provided guidance for relevant ministries and sectors as well as businesses to reorganize production in order to increase yields and improve quality.

The PM affirmed Vietnam’s determination to accelerate international integration, including ASEAN integration, as well as its willingness to implement integration commitments, including those of the ATIGA.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support and facilitate the sugarcane sector’s integration efforts under the ATIGA. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is seeking feasible options to harmonize international relations to help the sector overcome difficulties and develop.

Hoang Lan