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DA to back tariff hike once rice prices fall to P42-45

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will propose to raise rice import tariffs once the price of the staple grain falls to about P42-45 per kilogram, according to the Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. on Tuesday.

“The review will suffice to make sure that in case na bumaba na ’yan at masaya na ’yung consumers ng konti then maybe pwede na natin itaas ulit ang tariff (if prices fall to the satisfaction of consumers, then maybe we can raise tariffs again),” Mr. Laurel said at a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to DA’s price monitors, imported well-milled rice in Metro Manila markets sold for between P42 and P55 per kilo, while regular milled rice was at P48 to P51.

Executive Order (EO) No. 62 formalized the reduction of rice tariffs to 15% from 35% until 2028. The EO is set to take effect on July 6, the 15th day after its publication.

The order calls for a review of the tariff every four months to adjust to changes in global prices and supply.

“By November, we hope, the price of rice on the world market will go down a bit. India is expected to increase its rice exports. So, there is a chance that the review will happen before the end of the year.”

The Indian government last year banned on non-basmati white rice exports, citing the need to safeguard domestic supply.

In May, the Board of the National Economic and Development Authority approved a plan to lower tariffs on industrial and farm goods, including the further reduction of rice import tariffs, as part of a broader inflation-containment plan.

“We’re not saying that we will just abandon the farmers, we have a program for providing more inputs to farmers,” he said.

Farmers’ groups have signaled their opposition to the reduced tariffs, citing the resulting pressure on farmgate prices as traders opt to deal in imports rather than domestic rice. — Adrian H. Halili