Syria again tenders to buy 276,000 T white sugar, say traders

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A Syrian state agency has again issued an international tender to purchase and import276,000 tons of white refined sugar, offering payment from bank accounts frozen by Western sanctions, European traders said on Tuesday.

Syria had on Monday failed to make a purchase in a previous sugar tender for the same volume after also offering to pay with funds held in bank accounts abroad frozen by sanctions.

The European Union, United States and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government over his crackdown on the revolt in the country.

While sanctions do not target food, a financing freeze has hindered Syria’s ability to import food including grain and sugar.

In recent weeks the government has offered to pay for food with funds held in frozen bank accounts abroad. But those deals would require the sellers to secure permission from European governments to unfreeze the funds. Traders appear to have shied away rather than accept responsibility for unfreezing the money.

The latest sugar tender from Syria’s General Foreign Trade Organization (GFTO) also sought to use frozen funds for payment.

“A document from the concerned party in the country which freezes the Syrian funds should be submitted stating permission to finance these supplies from the frozen funds,” said a copy of the new sugar tender seen by Reuters.

The sugar was being sought “due to extreme urgency,” the tender said.

The latest tender sought shipment within 150 days afte ropening of a letter of credit for the tender winner.

Sugar packed in bags was sought. Tender deadline is September 24.

The GFTO had said on Monday it planned to issue a new sugar tender soon despite the failure of the last tender.

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