UPA’s investment board to be axed

Source: https://www.dnaindia.com


In another decision, the Cabinet also approved the sugar policy for 2017-18, fixing a fair and remunerative price of sugar at Rs 255 per quintal, which is an increase of 10.6 per cent over the previous year.

Days after the CBI raided the home of former finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti to probe their role in Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval for INX Media, the Union Cabinet here on Wednesday approved phasing out of the board.

In another decision, the Cabinet also approved the sugar policy for 2017-18, fixing a fair and remunerative price of sugar at Rs 255 per quintal, which is an increase of 10.6 per cent over the previous year. It also decided to allow use of 2.5 per cent of money collected under the Central Road Fund Act for development and maintenance of waterways.

The Cabinet also approved a 29.7-km metro rail corridor from Noida to Greater Noida costing Rs 4,403 crore. It will be a fully elevated corridor, Jaitley underlined.

According to the Cabinet proposal, the administrative Ministries/Departments will be allowed to process applications for FDI requiring government approvals in consultation with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.

The Ministry of Commerce will also issue the standard operating procedure (SOP) for processing applications and implementing government decision under the FDI policy.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who briefed the media on Cabinet decisions, said the foreign investors will find India a more attractive destination after abolition of the FIPB as it will make it easier to do business here. The move, he said, is in tune with promoting the principle of ‘Maximum Governance and Minimum Government’.

He said the board had become more or less redundant as 91 per cent to 95 per cent of foreign investments in the last three years came through automatic route and prior approval was needed only for a few sectors. The mechanism of the board for just 5 to 9 per cent FDI proposals was felt unnecessary and rather time consuming.

In some cases involving security issues, an additional approval of the home ministry will be required. The foreign investment proposals exceeding Rs 3,000 crore will continue to go to CCEA headed by the Prime Minister, Jaitley said.

Jaitley had already indicated abolition of the board in his budget speech, he said, pointing out that all that has been done is to disband a panel of the five secretaries of different ministries constituting the board while representatives of the concerned ministry or department will now decide independently instead of bringing its study of every proposal before the board for a final decision.

Housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, the FIPB was initially constituted under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the wake of economic liberalisation drive in 1990s by the then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha. The FIPB has five senior bureaucrats from different ministries and handles foreign direct investments up to Rs 600 crore (larger amounts need to be sanctioned by a cabinet committee).

CABINET DECISIONS

  • Fair price for sugarcane hiked by Rs 255 per quintal. The move will benefit five crore farmers.
  • Govt to partially fund the Noida-Greater Noida metro rail corridor being built on the outskirts of Delhi.

 

Illinois would lose if Trump hits Mexican sugar with tariffs

Source: https://www.chicagobusiness.com


Illinois’ food industry is bracing for fallout from President Donald Trump’s latest global trade tiff. Egged on by U.S. sugar interests, the Trump administration is threatening to reinstate punitive tariffs on Mexican sugar imports unless new trading terms are negotiated by June 5. The duties were suspended in late 2014, shortly after the Obama Commerce Department imposed them during the last flare-up of long-running hostilities over sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

Now the old gripes have been swept up in Trump’s broader campaign to reset global trade arrangements he considers unfair to the U.S. Many observers see sugar talks as a bellwether for broader negotiations on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But sugar is the main event for many in Illinois. As a center of food production, Illinois has a lot to lose in a sugar spat with Mexico. Local food companies from snackmaker Mondelez International to Tootsie Roll and countless mom-and-pop shops spend big on sugar, making them vulnerable to tariff-driven price hikes. Illinois farmers and corn processors, meanwhile, fear a backlash from Mexico, a key export market for the corn-based sweetener known as high-fructose corn syrup.

Retaliatory tariffs against U.S. corn sweeteners would hit farmers hard, depressing volumes and prices at a time when corn prices are already slumping. Tamara Nelsen, senior director of commodities at the Illinois Farm Bureau, estimates 13 percent of Illinois corn goes into sweetener, and says Mexico is a key export market. “This would be another hit to corn farmers’ pocketbooks in Illinois, and it would be significant to the Illinois economy,” she says.

Corn sweeteners are also big business at agricultural processor ADM. The Chicago-based company doesn’t separately disclose sweetener sales but reported $4 billion in combined revenue from sweeteners and starches last year, citing Mexico as a source of growth in an otherwise down year.

“We remain optimistic about the U.S. and Mexico reaching an agreement that continues a mutually beneficial trade of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup between the two countries,” spokeswoman Jackie Anderson says.

Ingredion spokeswoman Claire Regan says the Westchester-based maker of sweeteners and starches exports very little to Mexico, because it supplies Mexican customers from three plants in that country.

Preserving that trade flow is critically important to corn sweetener producers, says John Bode, CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. Bode says Mexico is the largest overseas market for U.S. corn sweeteners, accounting for 75 percent of exports and 15 percent of total production. “We see this as an irreplaceable market,” says Bode, whose lobbying organization represents ADM, Ingredion and two other major producers.

Bode predicts quick blowback if the U.S. reimposes tariffs on Mexican sugar imports. “Experience has taught us that Mexico will respond by retaliating against corn-sweetener imports from the U.S.,” he says, recalling an episode from the late 1990s, when Mexico shut down HFCS imports after the U.S. boxed out Mexican sugar. U.S. corn-sweetener companies lost access to Mexican markets for nearly five years, causing plant closures, job losses and about $3 billion in economic damage, Bode estimates.

He warns that Mexico currently has authority under trade rules to levy $163 million in punitive tariffs on U.S. imports immediately, without having to prove the products in question have been improperly subsidized.

Illinois food packagers have similarly painful memories. Their costs rise when tariffs boost the price of sugar. Higher costs squeeze profits, forcing companies to consider raising prices, cutting expenses (i.e. layoffs) or moving production to countries where sugar is less expensive.

Company spokespeople are reluctant to comment publicly on the issue, perhaps fearing a Twitter barrage from Trump, who made Deerfield-based Mondelez a poster child for U.S. job losses during the campaign. But a lobbying group for food and beverage companies is fighting to block new duties on Mexican sugar, which accounts for more than half of U.S. sugar imports.

Additional import restrictions would “artificially force U.S. food companies to pay at least twice as much as their offshore competitors,” says Jennifer Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Sweetener Users Association. She points to a 2006 U.S. Commerce Department study showing that higher U.S. sugar prices caused confectionery companies to shift production out of the country. As a result, three confectionery jobs were lost for every U.S. sugar job protected by tariffs.

A tough negotiator like Trump wouldn’t take that deal, would he?

MSM adheres to no sugar price increase

Source: https://www.nst.com.my


KUALA LUMPUR: MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd said that it will adhere to the government’s decision not to increase the price of refined sugar.

It said that the global sugar commodity is operating in a volatile market environment resulting in a gradual decline of international raw sugar prices, which saw the company make a call for a price hike.

MSM, in a statement today, said it accepts the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry’s decision not to increase the price of sugar.

This is for the benefit of consumers, as global raw sugar price dropped, currently priced at US$0.17 per pound (RM0.73 per 0.45kg).

Its minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said it will be unfair for the consumers and subsequently influence the increase of prices on other goods if the price hike was approved.

“The government would have probably considered their request if the sugar producing companies are faced with major losses,” he was quoted as saying.

MSM said based on the price control and Anti-Profiteering act 2011 (Determination of Maximum Price – No.2, Order 2017), it hopes to continue a steady and sufficient sugar supply especially in the coming fasting month and Hari Raya festive period.

“We will continue to engage with the Government and update them on the global sugar market and it is hopeful for a favourable outcome in the future,” said the statement.

On March 1, the price of coarse refined white sugar rose by 11 sen due to an increase in the price of imported raw sugar, increasing to RM2.95 per kg. Prior to that, the price of stood at RM2.84 per kg.

Plot to keep sugar price volatile

Source: http://m.thedailynewnation.com


A strong syndicate of millers and the whole sellers are active to increase prices of sugar ahead of Ramzan, traders claimed.

They also claimed that the wholesalers have already increased Tk 300 to Tk 400 against each one hundred kilogram sack of sugar which will impact to the retail market.

The traders said the prices of sugar might be raised again in different phases during the holy month of Ramzan and ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

“Prices of sugar in the retail market increased by around Tk 5 per kilogram as we are forced to pay extra money to the wholesalers,” Ahmed Kamal, a retailer, told The New Nation on Tuesday.

He added: “Wholesalers charge us higher prices of sugar. We do not have any scope to bargain with them. But when we increase price of sugar accordingly then consumers become angry with us.”

When asked Nayeem Mustafe, another grocery shop owner in the city’s Fakira pool area, said they raised Tk 5 against each kilogram of sugar as they have to count extra fare to carry goods from the wholesalers to the retail market due to heavy traffic congestion ahead of Ramzan.

On the other hand, Abdul Mannan, a wholesalers at Kawran Bazar, said that they face different types of anomalies during receiving delivery of sugar from mills which pushes cost of their goods.

“There are huge rush of trucks in the mill gate. Taking delivery of sugar takes three to seven days which causes more than Tk 20,000 against each truck of goods. So we become bound to raise price,” Mannan said.
However, Fahamida Zaman, a consumer alleged that all the stakeholders, including millers, wholesalers and the retailers, are involved with price hike conspiracy.

“Prices of goods in each country across the globe decreases during any festival time but in our country, it is just opposite. Here businesses make syndicate ahead of any festival, including Ramzan, the holy month of Muslims,” she said expressing her anger.

After a visit to different kitchen markets in the city, this correspondent found that prices of sugar is different in different markets.

Retailers of Krishi Market in Mohammadpur area were selling sugar at Tk 66 per kg while in Fakirapool market it was found selling at Tk 67 and in Jatrabari area more or less at Tk 65.

Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said prices of some consumable items may increase in the market slightly during Ramzan as demand for those increases significantly during the period.

“But if we find anyone increasing prices of goods making syndicate, we will not spare any of them,” the Minister added.

Sugar price won’t go up

Source: https://www.pressreader.com


The government will not increase the price of sugar despite a request by a major manufacturer.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the price of sugar had been raised by 11 sen in March, and the world market price of the commodity has dropped.

He said the government had raised the sugar price at the time because the global market price then was at US22 cents to US23 cents per pound.

“So, why should we increase the price when the world market price has dropped?” he said, referring to the current world market price at US17 cents per pound.

Hamzah was responding to the request made by local sugar producer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, to raise the price of sugar by 29 sen per kilogramme.

The minister said the top management of MSM Malaysia, including its chief executive officer, had met him recently to discuss the matter.

“I told them firmly that the price of sugar could not be increased unless the company has made a big loss.

“But MSM Malaysia has recorded profits. Hence, it is unfair for the government to allow the price of sugar to be raised to enable the company to double its profit,” he said at the ministry’s monthly assembly yesterday.

At the assembly, Hamzah also launched the ‘’#janganlebihlebih menjelang sambutan bulan Ramadan dan Aidilfitri’’ video campaign to create awareness among consumers not to overspend or waste, but to spend moderately. – Bernama

Government won’t raise sugar price

Source: http://dailyexpress.com.my


The government will not increase the price of sugar despite the request made by one on the country’s major sugar manufacturers for it to do so. Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said this was because the government had only recently, in March, raised sugar price by 11 sen while the world market price of the commodity had dropped.

He said the government had raised the sugar price at the time because the global market price then was at US22 cents to US23 cents per pound.”So, why should we increase the price (of sugar) when the world market price has dropped?” he said, referring to the current world market price at US17 cents per pound.Hamzah was responding to the request made by local sugar producer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, to raise the rice of sugar by 29 sen per kg, when met by reporters at the ministry’s monthly assembly, here, Tuesday.

The minister said the top management of MSM Malaysia including its chief executive officer had met up with him recently to discuss the matter.”I told them firmly that the price of sugar could not be increased unless the company has made a big loss.”But MSM Malaysia has recorded making profits, hence it is unfair for the government to allow sugar price to be raised to enable the company to double its profit,” he said.

At the assembly, Hamzah also launched the “#janganlebihlebih menjelang sambutan bulan Ramadan dan Aidilfitri” video campaign to create awareness among consumers not to overspend or waste, but to spend moderately.The minister also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysia Cooperative College and Skills Development Department to boost managing of cooperatives in this country. – Bernama

Sugar prices rise in ctg markets – The Price of Sugar

from daily star, by Dwaipayan Barua Sugar prices have gone up in most of the kitchen markets in the port city because of a supply crunch in the Khatunganj wholesale market.

Price of sugar increased by Tk 3 to Tk 5 a kg to Tk 66-68 a kg in the retail markets in the last three days, which was Tk 62-63 on Wednesday. Retailers have blamed a shortage of supply from the dealers in the Khatunganj wholesale hub for the increase in the price of the sweetener.

MSM respects govt’s decision not to further hike sugar price

Source: https://www.theedgemarkets.com


KUALA LUMPUR (May 24): Sugar manufacturer MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd will respect the government’s decision not to increase refined sugar price, despite its previous attempt to do so.

“As sugar is gazetted under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (Determination of Maximum Price — No.2, Order 2017), rest assured that MSM is committed to provide a steady and sufficient sugar supply for the nation, particularly with the upcoming festive period,” the company, which control 60% of the country’s refined sugar supply, said in a media statement today.

“While there is a late gradual decline of international raw sugar prices, the global sugar commodity is heavily operating at a volatile market environment. We continue to engage with the government and update them on the global sugar market and [are] hopeful for a favourable outcome,” added MSM, which produced 1.12 million tonnes of refined sugar in 2016.

MSM’s statement came after Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told reporters yesterday that the government will not increase the price of sugar.

“The sugar company that wanted an increase in the price of sugar sent their CEO, their board members, their officers to see me. I told them, no way! Unless (the current situation) is affecting their factories and mills, I think it is only fair to maintain the current price,” Hamzah was quoted as saying.

He also said global raw sugar price has dropped, and currently stood at US$0.17 per pound. “Why should there be a price increase when the price of global [raw sugar] has decreased?”

Hamzah was responding to reports that MSM wanted to increase the local sugar price by another 29 sen per kg to ensure profitability.

In financial year ended Dec 31, 2016, MSM saw its net profit declined by 56.15% to RM120.72 million from RM275.3 million a year ago.

In the firm’s Annual Report 2016, MSM’s president and chief executive officer Mohamad Amri Sahari @ Khuzari blamed the sharp drop in earnings on two factors: the weakening of the ringgit and the increasing cost of raw sugar, which accounts for 80% of the company’s total operating cost.

Mohamad Amri noted in the annual report that sugar price peaked at 25 US cents per pound in 2016, which was a significant 77% increase from 13 US cents per pound — the lowest sugar price — recorded in 2015.

“It is expected that the raw sugar price will hike further in 2017 due to the current world sugar deficit,” he said in the annual report.

On March 1 this year, Hamzah signed an executive order to approve the increase in price of coarse refined sugar by 11 sen. This resulted in retail sugar price jumping to RM2.95 per kilogram (kg) from RM2.84 per kg previously.

Under Control of Supplies Act 1961, sugar is listed as one of the 22 items classified as controlled goods.

MSM shares were trading at RM4.50 at 4:30pm, giving it a market capitalisation of RM3.16 billion.

That’s Sweet, They’ll be no price in sugar hike

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my


PUTRAJAYA: There will be no further hike in the price of sugar, assures Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

He said the top executives of a sugar company met with him recently and asked to consider increasing the price.

“The sugar company that wanted an increase in the price of sugar sent their CEO, their board members, their officers to see me.

“I told them, no way! Unless (the current situation) is affecting their factories and mills, I think it is only fair to maintain the current price,” said Hamzah at a press conference after his ministry’s monthly assembly.

He was responding to reports that MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, a top sugar producer in the country, wanted to increase the local sugar price by another 29 sen per kg to ensure profitability.

Hamzah said the request was unreasonable, especially after the Government sanctioned a hike of 11 sen last March.

The minister said global price of sugar was on the decline.

“I will not increase the price of sugar. Why must I increase the price when everybody knows that at the moment, the world market price is going down?

“Last year in November and December, it was true that the global price of sugar went up to about US$0.22 (95 sen) per pound. But now it has gone down to about US$0.17 per pound. So why are the suppliers asking for an increase in sugar price?

“When we allowed the 11 sen hike last March, the increase should be enough to help the companies to cover their costs. Now that the world price has gone down, they should be able to cover previous losses.

“If businesses do not know how to manage their profit and losses, it is not my fault or the consumer’s. It is not for us to ensure producers make money all the time,” said Hamzah.

Earlier, Hamzah launched a ministerial campaign dubbed #janganlebihlebih aimed at educating consumers not to be excessive, especially with the fasting month coming up.

Hamzah said there was a tendency for consumers to splurge when shopping or to waste food during Ramadan and the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

“The campaign’s slogan of #janganlebihlebih is short yet catchy, and we hope it will educate consumers to practise moderation,” he added.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/24/thats-sweet-therell-be-no-hike-in-sugar-price-consumer-ministry-turns-down-firms-unreasonable-reque/#X8aloKgFRHjRmxU6.99