275,000 metric tons of rice imports set to arrive
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines moves towards the unlimited importation of rice, around 274, 476 metric tons (MT) are expected to enter the country after 30 private traders applied to bring in the commodity under the out-quota scheme.

Last month, the interagency National Food Authority Council allowed the unlimited importation of rice in a bid to further stabilize the market ahead of the bicameral conference committee for rice tariffication.

Out quota allocation means traders can apply for any volume of imported rice they  want to bring in to 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 earlier said importers could only bring in 25 percent brokens, but the latest terms of reference for the out-quota scheme allow traders to import 25 percent brokens or better.

“The TOR effectively amends that. I am fine with that as long as they follow the suggested retail price,” Piñol said.

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 approval of the sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the payment of the required tentative advance customs duty.

The out quota imports will add to 500,000 MT that were bid out via open tender and the 203,000 MT via the government-to-government scheme.

Piñol has allayed possible fears of possible flooding of imported rice in the market with this move.

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