Philippines. Senate keen on up to 50% rice tariff

26.01.2018

Sen. Cynthia Villar, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said lawmakers would likely consider up to 50 percent rice tariff, based on the latest Senate hearing. File

 The Philippines may impose up to 50 percent duty on imported rice as lawmakers finalize the amendments to the Agricultural Tariffication Act, which replaces quantitative import restrictions with tariffs.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said lawmakers would likely consider up to 50 percent rice tariff, based on the latest Senate hearing.

“It will be around 35 percent for ASEAN and maybe up to 50 percent outside. We hope we can finish this in the first quarter.  If not, we hope to finish it by May,” Villar told reporters on the sidelines of the EcoWaste Management opening ceremony yesterday.

The Agricutlural Tariffication Act needs to be amended as the government moved toward the removal of QR.

Lifting of the QR is expected to give the government an additional revenue of P25 billion.

“We will give the income from the tariff to PhilRice (Philippine Rice Research Institute) to encourage farmers to use inbred seeds because it can produce up to six metric tons per hectare from the current four metric tons,” Villar said.

The Philippines is among the largest rice importers in the world, bringing in over one million MT of the staple annually.

The WTO granted the Philippines an extension of its QR on rice importation until June 30, 2017 to allow local farmers to prepare for free trade.

QR is a non-tariff measure that limits the volume of imports of a specific product.

In 1995, the WTO first allowed the Philippines to impose a 10-year QR on rice importation. In 2004, it was extended to 2012, and renewed in 2014.

In 2014, the WTO granted Manila’s petition for an extension of its special tax treatment on rice on the condition that it raises the annual import volume from 350,000 MT and lower the tariff to 35 percent from 40 percent.


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