U.S.D.A. sets 2008-09 sugar program at expectations

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 9 set sugar domestic marketing allocations and import quotas for the 2008-09 marketing year.

The U.S.D.A. established the 2008-09 (October-September) overall allotment quantity (O.A.Q.) at 8,925,000 tons, raw value, or at the required 85% of estimated domestic human sugar consumption. The total was apportioned 4,850,738 tons for beet sugar and 4,074,262 tons for cane. Individual beet and cane processor allotments will be announced later.

The O.A.Q. had been anticipated and the amount set by the U.S.D.A. came as no surprise to the trade. The established amount should allow domestic producers to market all of their 2008 crop sugar production, trade sources said.

The 2008-09 amount is 25,000 tons under the revised O.A.Q. of 8,950,000 tons for 2007-08. Last year the U.S.D.A. initially set the O.A.Q. at 8,450,000 tons but raised the amount by 500,000 tons in July 2008.

The raw sugar tariff rate quota (T.R.Q.) was set at the World Trade Organization required minimum of 1,231,497 tons, raw value, which does not include amounts of sugar that may enter the U.S. under free trade agreements. The raw sugar T.R.Q. also was set at the minimum required by the W.T.O. last year.

The 2008-09 refined sugar T.R.Q. was set at 104,251 tons, raw value, which includes the W.T.O. minimum requirement of 24,251 tons and an additional 80,000 tons to "accommodate a rapidly expanding organic food sector," the U.S.D.A. said.

"U.S.D.A. believes the domestic market will require additional supplies of sugar during FY 2009," the U.S.D.A. said. "During the year, appropriate adjustments will be made to sugar program parameters to ensure an adequate supply of sugar for the domestic market."

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