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China to Become Big Sugar Importer

Growing consumption and restricted production caused by the limited area of sugarcane and beet growth will turn China into the world's leading sugar importer by 2008, a leading Chinese company said.
Li Ming, general manager of the cereals and oils arm of China Cereals, Oils Import and Export Company, said the average annual domestic sugar consumption would grow no less than 5 percent in the years to come, and that domestic production would not keep pace.
The sugar output for the 2003-2004 season was 10.02 million tons in China, but demand was 11 million tons, said Li, who predicted domestic sugar consumption would exceed 13.36 million tons by 2008.
"More sugar imports are inevitable as China will reach the extreme with both the sown area of sugar-making materials and sugar makers' production capacities in 2008. The sugar output will not exceed 13 million tons unless a major technological breakthrough is made," said Li.
Sugar supply fell behind demand last year by 1.3 million tons. The country's quota for sugar import in the past year was 1.95 million tons, with a tariff of 15 percent.
Industry insiders suggested that a sugar reserve security system be established to ward off sugar prices from losing control in China.

(Xinhua News Agency May 5, 2005)


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