WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on June 24 announced the reallocation of 100,071 tonnes, raw value, of the World Trade Organization tariff rate quota for imported raw sugar for the current fiscal year.
“Based on consultation with quota holders, U.S.T.R. has determined to reallocate 100,071 tonnes, raw value, of the original T.R.Q. quantity from those countries that have stated they do not plan to fill their FY 2019 allocated raw cane sugar quantities,” the U.S.T.R. said.
The reallocations included:
Argentina, 6,662 tonnes; Australia, 12,859; Barbados, 300; Belize, 1,704; Bolivia, 1,239; Brazil, 22,464; Colombia, 3,718; Costa Rica, 2,324; El Salvador, 4,028; Fiji, 1,394; Guatemala, 7,437; Guyana, 1,859; Honduras, 1,549; India, 1,239; Jamaica, 1,704; Malawi, 1,549; Mauritius, 1,859; Mozambique, 2,014; Nicaragua, 3,254; Panama, 4,493; Peru, 6,352; South Africa, 3,563; Swaziland (Eswatini), 2,479; Thailand, 2,169; and Zimbabwe, 1,859.
Thirteen countries had shipped none of their 2018-19 T.R.Q. allocations as of May 31, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection weekly data, those countries were Bolivia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gabon, Haiti, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad-Tobago and Uruguay. It should be noted that Bolivia, which received additional reallocated quota, had shipped 7,565 tonnes in October of the current year that applied to the prior year. Also, Mexico, the largest source by far of U.S. sugar imports, ships most of its sugar to the United States under suspension agreements signed in 2014 and amended in 2017.
The U.S.T.R. on June 29, 2018, established the 2018-19 T.R.Q. for imported raw cane sugar at 1,117,195 tonnes, raw value, the minimum U.S. commitment under W.T.O. agreements. Country-by-country allocations were announced on July 18, 2018. The reallocation does not add to the T.R.Q. minimum but is intended to offset a shortfall from countries that typically do not fulfill their W.T.O. quota.
“U.S.T.R. based these allocations on the countries’ historical shipments to the United States,” the U.S.T.R. said. “The allocations of the raw cane sugar W.T.O. T.R.Q. to countries that are net importers of sugar are conditioned on receipt of the appropriate verifications of origin, and certificates for quota eligibility must accompany imports for any country for which an allocation has been provided.”
The Sweetener Users Association, in a May 13 letter to the U.S.D.A., asked the department to work with the U.S.T.R. and the U.S. Department of Commerce to increase the U.S. sugar supply by 400,000 tonnes, net, during the current marketing year because of tightness in the U.S. market. That request sought a combination of a T.R.Q. reallocation, an increase from Mexico under the suspension agreements and, if necessary, a T.R.Q. increase.
The S.U.A. request was based in part on the U.S.D.A.’s forecast of a 12.2% ending stocks-to-use ratio for 2018-19 in the May 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The S.-T.-U. ratio forecast was raised to 12.4% in the June 11 WASDE, which still was well below the 13.5% S.-T.-U. ratio typically seen as the lower end of the U.S.D.A.’s desired S.-T.-U. range and the level to be maintained under the suspension agreements with Mexico. Leaving all other factors unchanged, the reallocation may boost the 2018-19 S.-T.-U. ratio to 13.2%, which will next be updated in the July 11 WASDE.