The US Department of Agriculture on Sept. 7 said it set the 2012-13 (fiscal 2013) raw sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ) at 1,231,497 short tons, raw value, equal to the minimum import commitments under World Trade Organization agreements.

The USDA established the 2012-13 refined sugar TRQ at 129,251 short tons, raw value, of which 106,825 tons is reserved for specialty sugar imports defined by the Office of the US Trade Representative. The total refined TRQ includes the 24,251 ton WTO minimum committed to by the US, of which 1,825 tons is reserved for specialty sugar.

The specialty sugar TRQ is first-come, first-served and will be imported in five tranches, open Oct. 12, 2012, for 1,825 tons, Oct. 26, 2012, for 38,850 tons, and Jan. 11, 2013, April 11, 2013, and July 11, 2013, for 22,050 tons each.

Raw cane sugar must be accompanied by a certificate of quota eligibility and may enter the United States until Sept. 30, 2013, the USDA said. The USTR allocates the raw and refined TRQ, except those reserved for specialty sugar, to supplying countries.

The initial 2012-13 TRQ is the same amount as the initial 2011-12 TRQ The latter was increased by 420,000 tons on April 19, 2012. Under statute, the USDA cannot adjust the TRQ until April 1, 2013, except for extreme circumstances. The 2012-13 TRQ amount at the WTO minimum was expected by the trade.