KANSAS CITY — Nicaragua has been removed from the list of countries eligible for low-tariff sugar exports to the United States in 2022-23 for political reasons.
Office of the US Trade Representative published on July 21 Federal Register List of countries allocated tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for imported raw cane sugar in 2022-23 (starting October 1, 2022) Nicaragua received a TRQ allocation of 22,114 tonnes in 2021-22 but was not listed in the allocation for the following year. The US Department of Agriculture earlier announced the 2022-23 TRQ for raw sugar at 1,117,195 tonnes, raw value, the minimum required under the WTO agreement. By statute, TRQ amounts are allocated by USTR after the total amount is set by USDA.
Nicaragua was removed from the list of low-tariff sugar preferences as the United States “increases pressure on the government of President Daniel Ortega, an autocratic leader with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin”. The Wall Street Journal. The United States has also accused the Ortega government of corruption and views its ties to Russia as a regional security threat.
ABC News, citing Nicaragua’s National Sugar Producers Commission, said the move would “affect four sugar mills, about 800 producers and their families, as well as investors from Guatemala, Colombia, Spain, the United States and Nicaragua.” The sugar industry accounts for about 4% of Nicaragua’s gross national product, according to ABC NewsU.S. sugar imports from Nicaragua were valued at $83.5 million last year.
In its May Sugar: World Markets and Trade report, the USDA did not include Nicaragua in its forecast of the world’s 25 largest sugar producers in 2022-23, but forecast exports of 495,000 tonnes, ranking 15th globally.
The International Sugar Organization in May estimated Nicaragua’s 2021-22 sugar production at 764,000 tonnes and exports at 500,000 tonnes.