Applying for a Panama Specialty Sugar Certificate

Specialty Sugar Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)

A specialty sugar certificate valid for a given calendar year must accompany sugar imported (entered) into U.S. Customs territory under the Panama specialty sugar TRQ.

On October 31, 2012, a 500 metric-ton TRQ covering specialty sugar from Panama opened for the remainder of calendar year 2012. Sugar under this TRQ is not subject to a minimum of 99.5 degrees polarity. Specialty sugar classified in the following HTS subheadings is eligible under this TRQ: 1701.13.10, 1701.14.10, 1701.12.10, 1701.91.10, 1701.99.10, 1702.90.10, and 2106.90.44.

This link contains the notice implementing Panama’s specialty sugar TRQ:Implementation of United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Tariff-Rate Quota for Imports of Sugar (FR 65439 October 26, 2012)

To benefit from the lower tariff, an importer or the importer's agent must present a Panama specialty sugar certificate, valid for that calendar year, to the appropriate Customs official when the specialty sugar enters the Customs territory of the United States.
Entry of specialty sugar within the TRQ shall be allowed only in conformity with the conditions and limitations stated in the Panama certificate.

Issuance of a Panama certificate does not guarantee entry of any specific shipment of specialty sugar at a zero or nominal rate of duty. A certificate only permits entry of such sugar until the TRQ fills, or calendar year ends.

This website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection contains a weekly report on the status of U.S rate quotas: Commodity Status Report for Tariff Rate Quotas

This link shows a sample Panama specialty sugar certificate.

How to Apply for a Panama Specialty Sugar Certificate

To apply for a specialty sugar certificate, fax, email, or courier the following information:

  1. The name and street address on the company’s letterhead of the applicant, an importer with a U.S. place of business
  2. A statement of the anticipated country of origin and quantity of specialty sugar(s) to be imported
  3. The appropriate eight-digit HTS subheading number
  4. A description of the specialty sugar and its intended use that the importer will compete to enter during the period of the certificate,
  5. including the manufacturer's or exporter's usual trade name or designation
  6. Sufficient evidence, such as photographs of the product and its packaging, to permit the Certifying Authority to make a reasonable determination that such sugars are specialty sugars within the definition of specialty sugar
  7. The name of the anticipated consumer of the specialty sugars, if known at time of application
  8. The anticipated date of entry, if known at time of application
  9. An importer of organic sugar must provide a copy of the USDA-accredited certification(s) for their foreign suppliers covered in its application

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service publishes a list of accredited foreign organic certifiers

Applications may be submitted three ways:

  • Faxed: 202-720-0876
  • Email: sugars@fas.usda.gov
  • Mailed to:
    Import Policies and Export Reporting Division 
    Office of Trade Programs
    FAS/USDA Room 5526, Stop 1021 
    Washington, DC 20250

For more information on the federal regulations governing specialty sugar imports into the United States, call 202-720-2194.