Philippines: Philippines gears up for removal of rice import restrictions

30.09.2016

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is working to amend a law placing the rice import quota, as the country prepares for the removal of quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports next year, said a high-ranking government official.

My personal opinion is, it's too late to renegotiate (for another extension). We have to be forward looking, we have to prepare that it (QR) will be lifted by June 2017, Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Reina A. Valdez of the Office of the Cabinet Assistance System told reporters.

Valdez noted that removing the QR on rice requires the amendment of the law, which the NEDA is currently drafting as mandated by economic cluster.

She refers to Republic Act (RA) No. 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996.

Valdez said the country may also amend Presidential Decree 4 which created NFA under the name National Grains Authority (NGA).

The NFA is now vested the functions of ensuring the food security of the country and the stability of supply and price of the staple grain-rice.

In response to the initiatives on globalization and as part of the efforts to trim the national budgetary budget, the government in the last five years has been looking into the possibility of restructuring, streamlining or privatizing certain activities of the NFA.

If the QR is lifted, there is a need to modify the role of NFA to conforme to that. The economic cluster is looking to retain its regulatory and buffer stocking functions, Valdez added.


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