HAGL says not seeking nod for sugar import
By Thai Hang - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL), brushed off the information that his company was asking for approval to bring back to Vietnam 100,000 tons of sugar produced at its Laos-based factory in 2013.
|Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group - Photo: Mong Binh|
The sugar and sugarcane industrial cluster of the HAGL in Laos has yet to launch products. When it does, the products will be consumed around the world, not in Vietnam only, said Duc.
“Some 80,000 tons will be produced in 2013, and 120,000 tons from 2014. Our factory in Laos can sell products anywhere with unlimited volumes, except for Vietnam and some other Southeast Asian countries with barriers,” Duc told the Daily.
Therefore, it is unable for HAGL to bring 100,000 tons of sugar back to Vietnam in 2013 as rumored. He explained the incorrect information could have come from the dispatch that the government of Laos sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, suggesting HAGL be the only sugar producer in Laos.
“It would be great if we could bring back sugar for consumption in Vietnam. If not, the products can be sold to other markets,” said Duc.
In terms of potentials, there are only 80 million people in Vietnam, versus six billion worldwide. Meanwhile, it is easier to export goods from Laos than from Vietnam, he stated.
Enterprises export at will in Laos. They also enjoy tax reductions and exemptions.
“Sugar is freely exported to EU from Laos, without taxes and quotas,” said the chairman.
Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that locally-produced sugar is now sufficient to meet the domestic demand. However, Vietnam has to import sugar every year under the commitments made to WTO.
In 2011, as much as 250,000 tons was imported due to local undersupply. This year, the import quota is 70,000 tons.
As for 2013, Duc said it was unknown if sugar would continue to be imported and whether there would be sugar shortage or not.
He stressed the forecast of sugar mills was unreliable. It is irrational to predict sugar will be abundant in 2013, as now is only mid-2012.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese sugar mills are not independent of materials, but they have to buy sugarcane from farmers. However, local farmers tend to chop down the crops that are no longer profitable.
In case of sugar undersupply, the trade ministry has to import sugar to protect local prices.
Asked whether HAGL’s sugar produced in Laos can compete in Vietnam’s market, Duc said his firm must wait for the maiden products of the sugar factory, and then would calculate amortization and production costs for competitive prices.