January 05, 2019 ( Louise Maureen Simeon, The Philippine Star )
MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines moves toward the unlimited importation of rice, 166 firms have applied to bring in one million metric tons of the commodity under the out-quota scheme, based on the updated list released by the National Food Authority.
The rice will be sourced from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Taiwan.
The interagency National Food Authority Council (NFAC) allowed the unlimited importation of rice to further stabilize market prices.
Out-quota allocation means that traders can apply for any volume of imported rice they want to bring into the country.
Of the initial volume, the imports will be discharged in Manila, Subic, Cebu, Zamboanga City, Davao, La Union, Tacloban and Cagayan de Oro.
The NFA will continuously process and approve applications of private traders.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said importers could only bring in 25 percent brokens but the latest terms of reference for the out-quota scheme allows traders to import 25 percent brokens or better.
All rice to be imported will be levied with a 35 percent tariff for ASEAN countries and 50 percent for non-ASEAN.
Rice import allocation of eligible importers must be loaded upon the approval of the sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance by the Bureau of Plant Industry and payment of the required tentative advance Customs duty.
The out-quota imports will add to the recently bid out 500,000 MT via open tender and the 203,000 MT government-to-government scheme.
The agri chief had allayed possible fears of flooding of imported rice in the market.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen because when the importers feel there is so much rice stocks in the market and prices go down to a level where they cannot make money anymore then they will not import,” Piñol earlier said.
“It will be the absorptive capacity of the market that will set the cap. And no businessman in his right mind will import rice if there is no market,” he added.