Sugar War in Costa Rica Restarts

The Ministry of Economy has decided to impose a new tax of almost 7% on sugar imported from Brazil, in response to a lawsuit brought by the union of local producers.

Monday, February 6, 2017

With this new protectionist measure the government is trying to put an end to a conflict that arose in 2015 between the Agricultural Cane League (Laica) and the importer Maquila Lama, when this company denounced a proposal to amend the regulation on sugar fortification claiming it attempted to restrict trade of imported grain.

See also: "Sugar Imports and Exports in Central America"

Juan Carlos Sandoval, manager of Maquila Lama, told CentralAmericaData: "We are extremely shocked because the new minister, on his first day in office, decided to depart from the technical criteria of the investigating authority which has been investigating this case for 18 months. The technical recommendation is that there has not been any dumping and therefore the case should have been archived, but the recently appointed minister, is looking for a way to apply a dumping margin of 6.82%. "  

See: "Sugar Conflict Continues in Costa Rica"

Sandoval explained that international sugar freight actually paid for was $36,000 for the imports that have been made, and the Minister changed this amount to $54,590, 52% more, with the purpose of finding dumping. "We will file the corresponding appeal next week, because the arguments that have been put forward for dumping to apply, are very weak. Remember that Maquila Lama already pays 45% tariffs and with this increase we would have to pay 51.82% tariff."

In regards to the decision taken by the Ministry of Economy, Edgar Herrera, executive director of Laica told "...'We are putting forward a serious, solid and well-founded complaint. For the national productive sector it is essential that there is a timely and effective implementation of legitimate trade defense instruments recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and contained in all Trade Agreements'. "

More on this topic

Governments who Favor the Few at the Expense of the Many

February 2017

A change of minister in Costa Rica will aid in increasing the cost of sugar via an import tariff hike, harming consumers and the food industry, and increasing protection for the powerful sugar lobby.


The decision taken by the new chief of the Ministry of Economy reflects a clear interest in meddling in a process that should be resolved at a technical and non-political level. The decision to declare whether or not dumping occured in a particular market and what measures should be taken in response, corresponds to the office of Trade Defense, and should be free from any possible political bias.  

Sugar: Investigation Into Anti-Competitive Practices

September 2016

The Commission to Promote Competition in Costa Rica has launched an investigation against Liga Agrícola de la Caña after a complaint was made by Maquila Lama.

The Commission to Promote Competition has ordered a process to be opened to determine whether Liga Agrícola de la Caña (Laica) committed anticompetitive practices, as claimed by Maquila Lama in June this year, noting that "...

Sugar Conflict Continues in Costa Rica

August 2016

At the request of the Agricultural Cane League the government has extended until the end of November the investigation into alleged dumping against the sugar importer La Maquila Lama.

The as yet unresolved conflict could once again make its presence felt with the import of organic sugar on the part of the Agricultural Cane League and also the importer La Maquila Lama, who filed with the Commission to Promote Competition (COPROCOM) a complaint of alleged monopolistic practices. See: "Sugar War in Costa Rica".

Sugar War in Costa Rica

June 2016

Maquila Lama has denounced the Agricultural Industrial Cane League for "pressuring wholesale businesses to remove" the product that the importer distributes.

In a statement the company Maquila Lama says that "... for several days notices have been received from stores that sell the Mr.