WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture announced several actions effective April 2 to boost the US sugar supply, including the transfer of domestic sugar marketing allocations, the reassignment of unused domestic allocations to imports, and the increase of raw and refined sugar tariff-rate quotas for the current marketing year, with the net effect of increasing TRQ imports by 550,000 short tons, raw value, including 350,000 tons of raw sugar and 200,000 tons of refined sugar.

“Significant uncertainties regarding the level of fiscal year 2020 imports from Mexico, the effect of coronavirus on domestic refined and raw sugar demand and supply through the end of the fiscal year, and other market factors make it prudent for USDA to increase import access at this time to achieve the target of USDA’s traditional range of sugar ending stocks-to-use of 13.5% to 15.5%,” the department said.

The USDA transferred allocations from domestic sugar beet processors with surplus allocation to those with deficit allocation. Domestic allocations were raised by a total of 134,202 tons, including 40,335 tons to the Amalgamated Sugar Co. and 93,867 tons to the Michigan Sugar Co. Allocations were lowered for the other five beet sugar processors by a total of 884,202 tons, resulting in a net decrease in allocations of 750,000 tons, all of which were reassigned to raw cane sugar imports already anticipated. Several US beet processors were unable to fill their allocations this year because of weather-related losses to 2019 sugar beet crops.

The USDA also determined that domestic cane sugar supplies were inadequate to fill 2019-20 cane sugar marketing allocations and reassigned 550,000 tons of raw cane to TRQ imports, including 200,000 tons of imports that were already anticipated and 350,000 tons of additional raw sugar TRQ imports.

The 317,515-tonne, raw value (the above-mentioned 350,000 short tons) increase raises the 2019-20 raw sugar TRQ to 1,434,710 tonnes from 1,117,195 tonnes initially set on June 27, 2019, all of which must enter the United States by Sept. 30, 2020. The new TRQ imports will be allocated by the US Trade Representative.

Further, the USDA increased the refined sugar TRQ by 181,437 tonnes (200,000 short tons), bringing the total refined sugar TRQ to 373,427 tonnes, with only refined sugar of 99.5 degrees polarity or more permitted to be imported, which also will be allocated by the USTR.

The notice will appear in the April 3 Federal Register.