Sugar producers oppose zero import tax, citing self-sufficiency and international agreements
Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s sugar producers, represented by the National Sugar Union (UNAZUCAR), have voiced their opposition to a proposed law for zero import tax on sugar. Mr. Cesar Heredia, UNAZUCAR’s president, argues that local mills are capable of meeting domestic demand and fulfilling international commitments, including the DR-Casta quota, making such a law unnecessary. He suggests that the government already possesses mechanisms to adjust tariffs in crisis situations, approved by the national congress.
In an interview on the program “Frente al Mundo,” Heredia expressed concerns that the proposed law would undermine local production, potentially leading to reliance on imports and jeopardizing the nation’s food security, which is currently around 80% guaranteed by local production. He fears this could result in food shortages in the Dominican Republic.
Highlighting the strength of the national sugar industry, Heredia notes its capacity to produce 650,000 metric tons of sugar annually, covering both domestic needs and international obligations. The industry, according to him, is competitive with cutting-edge technology and adheres to international standards, being supervised and audited by relevant organizations.
Heredia also addresses the issue of rising sugar prices, attributing it to market speculators and hoarders. He points out that while the Dominican Republic has a free market, sugar is the only regulated item in the family basket, with its commercialization overseen by the National Sugar Institute (INAZUCAR). However, he criticizes Pro Consumo, the institution responsible for ensuring fair consumer prices, for lacking effective measures to control speculation within the supply chain. Heredia calls on authorities to find solutions to prevent hoarding and ensure sugar reaches consumers at fair prices.