SRA hopes trade deal review expands sugar access to Japan

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WITH THE Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA) due to be reviewed next year, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) renewed calls for Japan to provide wider access to Philippine sugar.

Nearly 10 years after the PJEPA was sealed and ratified, Tokyo has yet to fulfill its pledge for the sugar industry, according to SRA policy and planning Manager Rosemarie S. Gumera.

“I hope we can take advantage of expanded market access and also tap their technical expertise,” Ms. Gumera said in an interview with BusinessWorld in Quezon City on Monday.

Ms. Gumera said the Philippines has been batting for unlimited export volume at zero duty for its sugar producers.

Japan has so far only offered technical assistance and training to  sugarcane producers, which have yet to materialize, according to Ms. Gumera.

Among the agreement’s terms was for Japan to fund the sugarcane industry’s research and development, including the construction of necessary facilities.

Although the  bilateral agreement was aimed at boosting trade and investment opportunities between the two economies, Japan has been protective of its local market for sugar. — Janina C. Lim