Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company (HAGL) is seeking approval for annual quotas to import 100,000 tonnes of sugar from its own sugar plant in Laos from next year, a proposal that has irritated the Ministry of Finance.
HAGL in its petition sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested that it be allowed quotas of 100,000 tonnes of sugar in 2013 and 150,000 tonnes from 2014, a volume quite sizable compared to the total quotas approved each year by the ministry.
The quotas for 2010 were 300,000 tonnes, but the volume fell to 250,000 tonnes last year and an estimated 70,000 tonnes for this year.
Central authorities differ over the proposed sugar quotas.
The Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development has urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade to utilise the annual sugar import quotas for HAGL to import the proposed quantity of sugar that it produces in Laos.
If the ministry says ‘yes’ to HAGL’s proposal, the sugar imported will be subject to a 2.5 percent tax rate while any quantity above the quota will be subject to 80 percent and 85 percent tariff rate set on raw cane sugar and refined sugar respectively.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance says the proposed quantity is too large and needs to be taken into prudent consideration.
In November 2011, HAGL started growing sugar cane on 12,000 hectares in Laos’ southern province of Attapeu bordering Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces in the country. The firm also develops a sugar refinery with a designed crushing capacity of 7,000 tonnes of cane per day.