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BSP exec: Ending rice import quota would benefit farmers

Gov’t eyes boost in competitiveness for lifting quantitative restrictions

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By Philippines News Agency

Removing the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice importation would be advantageous to farmers, a ranking central bank official said.

Workers arranges sacks of NFA rice at a warehouse in Visayas Ave, Quezon City. According to the NAtional Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Duterte administration has decided to import more rice by lifting the quantitative restriction (QR) on the product. The QR protects local farmer by preventing the influx of cheap rice imports. (MArk Balmores)

MB FILE – Workers arranges sacks of NFA rice at a warehouse in Visayas Ave, Quezon City. (Mark Balmores) / MANILA BULLETIN

The Philippines has extended the QR thrice and it will end by June 2017.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo, who represents governor Amando Tetangco Jr. at the National Food Authority (NFA) board, said they are still threshing out details of the eventual end of the quota.

“It will be implemented until end of June 2017 so we have until then to work for the conclusion of the QR on rice,” he said.

The Duterte administration has decided to end the QR, saying this will increase the sector’s competitiveness.

The QR sets a quota for rice import and targets to protect domestic rice farmers.

It imposes a 35-percent duty on imported rice under a minimum access volume (MAV) of 805,200 metric tons (MT). Rice imported outside of the MAV has a 50-percent tariff.

The bulk—about 755,000 MT of the MAV—are allocated for Vietnam and Thailand while the remaining volume can be sourced elsewhere.

Guinigundo said removing the QR will give more businessmen the authority to import rice but clarified that this importation has a corresponding tariff.

“Whatever the tariff will be, this is what you will use as assistance to the agriculture sector in terms of infrastructure, better seedling varieties, irrigation, drying facilities and farm-to-market roads,” he said.

The central bank official added that these benefits are better than just subsidizing farm gate prices of rice.

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