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May 2024

Rice import permit rules revised

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has shortened the effectivity of import permits to ensure proper compliance and enough supply of rice in the market.

In a memorandum circular (MC) signed on Monday, the DA said that “the actual product/consignment must be shipped out within 30 days from the date the sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPIC) is issued, regardless of the country of origin.”

The previous memorandum mandated traders to use their SPICs within 60 days from the date of permit issuance for products coming from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries, except Myanmar, and 90 days days for those coming from Myanmar and other countries.

“The importers shall fully utilize their applied SPICs. Low or no utilization of SPICs may result to sanctions and penalties in accordance with the guidelines as this can create discrepancies in the forecasting being done in relation to the availability of rice supply,” MC 53 signed by Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel stated.

According to the DA, the amendment aligns with their thrust to ensure enough supply and buffer stock of the staple and to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of the staple.

“Most of the traders and millers are cooperating with the Department of Agriculture to ensure both the well being of local farmers and producers, and national food security,” the department said.

For its part, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) said the memorandum “was issued as a leeway provided by [the] DA to rice importers to make sure that permits provided [to] them are utilized.”

Sinag Executive Director Jayson Caingelt said that this will also remove importers who do not utilize import permits.

The country’s volume of rice imports as of mid-November went down by 16.7 percent compared to the same period last year, the Bureau of Plant Industry showed.

Inbound shipments of the staple as of November 16 totaled 2.93 million metric tons (MT), down 16.7 percent from the 3.25 million MT of the same period in 2022.

For November alone, rice imports were recorded at 106,216.15 MT. Rice imports peaked in April at 516,895.173 MT.

Laurel, meanwhile, earlier said that he ordered importers to quickly use their import permits to buy an additional 1 million MT of rice from abroad to ensure sufficient supply and affordable prices of the staple. QR Code

Published Date: December 5, 2023

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