Sugar Import Program

Imports of sugar into the United States are governed by tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), which allow a certain quantity of sugar to enter the country under a low tariff. TRQs apply to imports of raw cane sugar, refined sugar, sugar syrups, specialty sugars and sugar-containing products. Import restrictions are intended to meet U.S. commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (which resulted in the creation of the World Trade Organization).

USDA establishes the annual quota volumes for each federal fiscal year (beginning October 1) and the U.S. Trade Representative allocates the TRQs among countries. Sugar and related products paying a higher, over-quota tariff may enter the country in unlimited quantities.

More information about U.S. trade in sugar and sweeteners is available from USDA’s Economic Research Service.  


USDA also administers three re-export programs involving sugar.

  • The Refined Sugar Re-Export Program is designed to facilitate use of domestic refining capacity to export refined sugar into the world market. The program establishes a license against which a refiner can: export domestically produced refined sugar and later import low-duty raw cane sugar; import low-duty raw cane sugar for refining and distribution to licensed U.S. manufacturers of sugar-containing products and/or licensed producers of polyhydric alcohol for non-food purposes; or import raw sugar, refine it and export it into the world market. 
  • The Sugar-Containing Products Re-Export Program is designed to put U.S. manufacturers of sugar-containing products on a level playing field in the world market. U.S. participants in this program may buy world-priced sugar from any licensed refiner for use in products to be exported to the world market.
  • The Sugar for the Production of Polyhydric Alcohol Program is established to provide world-priced sugar to licensed U.S. manufacturers of polyhydric alcohols. Participating U.S. manufacturers purchase world-priced sugar from licensed refiners for use in the production of polyhydric alcohols, except polyhydric alcohols used as a substitute for sugar in human food consumption.

Data and Analysis

World Production, Markets, and Trade Report

Sugar Monthly Import and Re-Export Data

This monthly report provides information on U.S. sugar import and re-exports, including the fill rate of the sugar TRQs and sugar imports from Mexico.
Attaché Report (GAIN)

India: Raw Sugar Export Subsidy Changed

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs revised the raw sugar subsidy to $55.09 (INR 3,371) per metric ton (MT), which is applicable from August 1, 2014, to September 30, 2014.
Attaché Report (GAIN)

Dominican Republic: Sugar Annual

The Dominican Republic is not expected to fill the U.S. annual sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for FY 2013 due to the current supply situation in the U.S. market.

News and Features

USDA Fiscal Year 2020 Sugar Program Announcements
USDA Announces Reassignments of Fiscal Year 2020 Domestic Marketing Allocations and Increases to Fiscal Year 2020 Raw and Refined Sugar Tariff-Rate Quotas
March 10, 2020
News Release

USDA Statement on U.S. Sugar Market

USDA Statement on U.S. Sugar Market

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