China lets safeguard on sugar imports to expire: industry group

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Chinese government decided not to renew a safeguard on sugar imports in place since 2017, letting the measure expire on Friday, which will lead to a substantial decrease in the import tariff for sugar entering the Asian nation.

According to Unica, a Brazilian sugar industry group, the decision by China’s government to not renew the safeguard is the result of a negotiation between the two countries, in which Brazil canceled a request for a panel to investigate the safeguard at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Unica said in a statement that following the expiration of the measure, Chinese import tariffs on extra-quota sugar will fall from 85% to 50%.

China also has an import quota for 1.95 million tonnes per year with a lower tariff of 15%.

The Brazilian industry group believes the end of the safeguard will boost Chinese sugar imports, particularly at a time when the Asian country seeks to guarantee food supplies amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Andrea Ricci