Senate probes dumping of Turkish flour in Phl market
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on food and agriculture yesterday started its inquiry onto the “dumping” of Turkish flour that threatens to affect the local flour millers and suppliers in the country.

“There are many players in the industry and we have to really study. We are very concerned because if we impose anti-dumping duty, the price of flour might increase and then bread will be affected,” Villar said after the hearing.

Villar expressed concern that the competition among local flour millers and importers of flour might affect the prices of bread which “is very important to Filipinos, second to rice.”

“Ayaw na nating tumaas ang presyo ng bread. So we are looking at what would be the reasonable thing to do para huwag namang tamaan na naman ang Filipino consumers,” she said.

Under the law, dumping occurs when goods are exported at a price lower than their normal value or the selling price in the country where goods come from.

In the same hearing, Villar also directed the executives of the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Health Developments – both under the Department of Health – to look into reports about the alleged health hazards posed by imported flour from Turkey.

Ernesto Chua, chairman of the Philippine-Turkish Business Council and president of the Malabon Longlife Trading Corporation, belied these reports. 

Chua also reported that Turkish flour importation from January to December, 2013 reached 28,679.50 metric tons at an average cost of $410/per metric ton. From January to June this year, the volume reached 13,985 MT at an average cost of $390/MT.

Chua told the committee that these prices were much lower compared to those of local millers.  He also decried what he described as massive propaganda launched against the Turkish flour in recent years.

But Ricardo Pinca, executive director of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers Inc (PAFMIL), said the dumping of Turkish flour clear in 2014  domestic price in Turkey in $512/MT yet their export price to the Philippines is only $390. That is dumping. That is why the DA imposed a provisional dumping on Turkish flour ranging from 2.28 percent to 39.26 percent.

The PAFMIL consists of seven members, representing 54 percent of local wheat production. The group is supported by San Miguel Mills, Inc. when they filed violation of anti-dumping law against the importers of Turkish rice.

Villar said the committee will conduct more hearings to determine if it is necessary to impose anti-dumping duty against the importers. 

“That means, you have to impose duty on Turkish flour. Siyempre kapag nag-impose ka ng duty, mamahal iyon, so it’s not anymore a low-price flour for the Filipino. Ang implication noon hindi naman ang flour per se, the bread consumption of the Philippines. Syempre kapag mahal ang raw material, mahal ang product,” Villar said.

“Kaya tayo nag-iingat na sana huwag nang tumaas ang presyo ng bread. We are thinking of what to do na mapagbigyan natin ang industry, if they can prove that there is dumping and at the same time, huwag nating itaas ang presyo ng bread,” he added.

Villar also disagreed with a proposal to put into a special fund the duties to be collected from flour millers, citing the bad precedence on the alleged corruption of funds such as the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).

“Minsan kasi iyong fund, nadadala na rin ako doon. Kasi kapag mis-managed, wala ring effect. Like iyong ACEF, na-mismanaged. Mas confident ako sa sugar industry kasi mas institutionalized sila. Parang ang gusto nating reprieve sa ating consumers ay fast and direct hindi iyong may fund pa, parang mahirap,” Villar added.

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