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Replacement of non-tariff barriers to rice imports
« on: February 12, 2018, 11:13:54 AM »
REP. MICHAEL “MIKEE” L. ROMERO, Ph. D.
1-PACMAN Party-list
Assistant Majority Leader
Twitter: @MikeeRomeroPhD

PROPOSED NEDA TARIFF ON RICE IS ANTI-FILIPINO FARMER, SAYS ECONOMIST-SOLON 

Last Friday, NEDA issued a press release on the replacement of non-tariff barriers to rice imports with a 35 percent tariff rate, so that the landed cost of imported rice would be cheaper. 

NEDA said: At 35 percent tariff rate, the landed cost of imported rice, particularly from Thailand and Vietnam, along with its transport cost to the local market would be around PhP 30.30 per kilogram.  This is about PhP 4.31 lower than the domestic wholesale price of regular milled rice. The price reduction of PhP 4.31 per kilogram will enable a Filipino household of five to save as much as PhP 2,362 per year.

As Member of the House Committee on Food Security, this kind of proposed policy is anti-Filipino farmer. The better and right policy is to make local rice cheaper than imported rice by lowering farming and post-harvest costs so our farmers will have better profit margins whether they sell their rice to the NFA or to the rice traders.

If the Philippines is to replace its non-tariff barriers with a tariff, the effect of the tariff should be to make the cost of imported rice at least equal to local rice prices. For this to happen, the tariff must be higher than the 35 percent NEDA is proposing. A tariff rate of 40 percent or thereabouts is what would be fair to Filipino farmers and consumers.

For the long term, the NFA should create and develop a strictly-regulated online exchange or marketplace for harvested palay. This would weaken the hold or cartel-like influence of middlemen on our domestic market for rice.

To address the present-day problem of NFA rice shortage, the NFA should, instead of importing rice from Thailand or Vietnam, buy rice from Filipino farmers who are harvesting in late February and early March. The NFA should help Filipino farmers, not farmers of other countries. (END)

Reference:http://www.neda.gov.ph/2018/02/09/majority-of-households-to-benefit-from-removal-of-qr-on-rice-imports/

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