U.S.D.A. sets 2009-10 import, domestic sugar quotas

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture set the 2009-10 raw sugar import quota at the minimum required under World Trade Organization Agreements but boosted the domestic marketing quota from the 2008-09 level.

The 2009-10 tariff rate import quota (T.R.Q.) for raw sugar was set at the W.T.O. required minimum of 1,231,497 short tons, raw value. The refined and specialty sugar T.R.Q. was established at 99,251 tons, including the W.T.O. minimum of 24,251 tons and 75,000 tons for specialty sugar to accommodate the organic food sector.

The U.S.D.A. established the 2009-10 (October-September) domestic overall allotment quantity (O.A.Q.) at 9,235,250 tons, raw value, up from the 2008-09 O.A.Q. of 8,925,000 tonnes. The total was apportioned 5,019,358 tons for beet sugar and 4,215,892 tons for cane sugar.

"Using the most recent data available, the announced O.A.Q. level is expected to permit domestic sugar cane and sugar beet processors to market all of their fiscal year 2010 sugar production," the U.S.D.A. said.

Additionally, the U.S.D.A. said it expects U.S. cane sugar production to fall "significantly short" of its allotment, requiring reassignment to imports later in 2009-10.

In its September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the U.S.D.A. projected 2009-10 domestic sugar production at 8,025,000 tons, consisting of 4,700,000 tons of beet sugar and 3,325,000 tons of cane sugar.

"U.S.D.A. believes the domestic market will require additional supplies of sugar during fiscal 2010 and will closely monitor stocks, consumption, imports and all sugar market and program variables on an ongoing basis," the agency said.

The T.R.Q. and O.A.Q. levels do not include the bulk of shipments from Mexico, which may enter the United States duty free under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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