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, an unchanging 500 metric-ton TRQ covering specialty sugar from Panama opened for all future calendar years. 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, 1701.99.10.15, 1701.99.10.17, 1702.90.10, and 2106.90.44. Most common specialty sugars are classified in HTS 1701.99.10.15 or 1701.99.10.17.

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) Link:

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. See below for application instructions. 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 tariff rate quotas: Commodity Status Report for Tariff Rate Quotas. Link:

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 Panama being the country of origin and quantity of specialty sugar(s) to be imported.
  3. The appropriate ten-digit HTS subheading number, usually 1701.99.10.15 or 1701.99.10.17.
  4. A description of the specialty sugar and its intended use that the importer will compete to enter during the period of the certificate, including the manufacturer's or exporter's usual trade name or designation.
  5. From each supplier, a specification sheet showing the polarity of the product.
  6. Detailed photos of the product are required. Your supplier likely has appropriate photos. These pictures will display the bag (or other type of receptacle) photographed from various angles, the actual sugar on a dish, and bags (or other receptacles) on a pallet (or other structure) prepared for transport. This photographic evidence, including the USDA organic label, will permit the Licensing 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.
  10. National Organic Program:
  11. The Licensing Authority may seek clarification for any application.

Applications may be submitted three ways:

  • Email:
  • Mailed to:
    Import Programs Team
    Multilateral Affairs
    FAS/USDA Room 5550, Stop 1070
    Washington, DC 20250