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June 2024

FFCCCII backs further lowering of rice tariffs

Workers arrange sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) palay or unmilled rice inside their warehouse in Balagtas, Bulacan on May 22, 2024.

MANILA, Philippines — The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) is supporting a proposal to further reduce the import duties slapped on rice to help bring down the prices of the staple.

In a statement, FFCCCII president Cecilio Pedro said the group is backing the proposal of Finance Secretary Ralph Recto to further lower the tariffs on rice below the current 35 percent until the end of the year.

Recto earlier said the proposal forms part of government measures to reduce rice prices by 20 percent by September this year.

Through Executive Order 50 issued by President Marcos last December, the government has extended the implementation of the 35 percent tariff on rice.

Without this measure, rice imports within and outside the minimum access volume are imposed a 40 percent and 50 percent tariff, respectively.

Pedro believes further lowering rice tariffs can help address inflation worries and promote economic stability.

Rice inflation eased but remained elevated at 23.9 percent in April from the previous month’s 24.4 percent.

Meanwhile, rice watchdog Bantay Bigas criticized the plan to slash tariffs on rice imports below 35 percent, saying this would further result in the flooding of imported grains.

“This will not benefit the local production but will instead result in the flooding of imported rice and will never be an answer to bring down the retail price of grains,” Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said.

Instead, she said the government should allocate more funds to the National Food Authority to provide subsidized rice to consumers. — Bella Cariaso QR Code

Published Date: May 31, 2024

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