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Business

Rice imports under MAV slapped with 35% tariff

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s minimum volume of rice imports in exchange for the extension of the special treatment on the staple will be slapped with a lower tariff of 35 percent, an agriculture official said.

In a press conference yesterday, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said the minimum access volume (MAV) of rice which has been increased to 805,200 metric tons (MT) from 350,000 MT previously will have a lower tariff of 35 percent.

“The (tariff) for MAV will be at 35 percent and that 35 (percent) will apply to the rest of the world… By 2015, that will also be tariff in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” he said.

Imports outside of the MAV, meanwhile, will be imposed with a 50 percent tariff.

The previous MAV of 350,000 MT for rice imports was subject to a higher tariff of 40 percent, while shipments outside of the MAV were slapped with a 50 percent duty.

Under the new MAV, 755,200 MT will be allocated as country specific quotas, while the remaining 50,000 MT can be imported from any World Trade Organization (WTO) member.

Countries which had specific rice import allocations were as follows: Australia (15,000 MT), China (50,000 MT), El Salvador (4,000 MT), India (50,000 MT), Pakistan (50,000 MT), Thailand (293,100 MT) and Vietnam (293,100 MT).

The previous MAV allocated 163,000 MT as country specific quotas, while 187,000 MT could be sourced from any WTO member.

The MAV for rice was raised after the Philippines secured the WTO’s Council on Trade in Goods’ (CTG) green light of a request to extend the quantitative restriction (QR) or special treatment on rice until 2017.

The WTO-CTG is set to endorse to the WTO General Council its decision on the Philippines’ petition for formal approval on July 25.

The Department of Agriculture asked for a five year extension of the QR which expired in June 2012 to give Filipino farmers time to build their production capability and enable them to cope with increased pressure that comes with the enforcement of free trade within Southeast Asia in 2015.

Aside from the increasing the MAV for rice and lowering the tariff for such imports, the Philippines also allowed concessions or importation of other commodities such as butter milk, butter, grated or powdered cheese, French fries and frozen turkey at a lower duty from countries such as Australia, China, El Salvador, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the United States, in exchange for the QR extension.

Following the QR extension on rice, Serrano said the next step is to look at how it can endorse the crafting of a bill that will set a tariff system for rice beyond 2017.

 

AGRICULTURE UNDERSECRETARY SEGFREDO SERRANO

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

CAMBODIA AND THE UNITED STATES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

EL SALVADOR

GENERAL COUNCIL

MAV

RICE

TARIFF

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