China has suspended sugar imports in order to support domestic prices and help farmers, a China Sugar Association official told Reuters in May. The official said that the suspension would last until the domestic market position had improved. As part of its commitment to the WTO, China has promised to import 1.764m tonnes of sugar at low tariffs in 2002. In April the State Development Planning Commission allocated non-state firms permits to import 200,000 tonnes under general trade but asked the firms holding them not to import.
The volume of domestic production is putting pressure on domestic prices – China’s 2001/02 sugar harvest is estimated at 8.2m tonnes and the government has said that it will buy 300,000 tonnes from the domestic industry for state reserves in order to maintain prices.