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Sugar industry strikes, warns of collapse

Members of the sugar industry will take to the streets of Tshwane on Tuesday to raise concern over the dumping of cheap sugar in the country.

“The insufficient sugar tariff will lead to the industry collapsing,” says the founder of the organisation FairPlay Francois Baird.

The SA Sugar Association, FairPlay and various workers in sugarcane production will march to the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria, demanding that tariffs be increased.

The R14 billion industry says it is under threat from cheap sugar imports, which makes up 25% of the total sugar products in South Africa.

According to the SA Sugar Association chairperson, Suresh Naidoo, a tariff increase from $566 to $856 per ton will protect thousands of jobs.

The International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) is currently reviewing the application.

“If it is not acceded to it is going to escalate the downward spiral. We really at a tipping point and crucial discussions have to be made.”

Naidoo says sugar imports, mainly from Brazil, quadrupled last year – a clear threat to the 80 000 directly employed in the industry.

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