In a joint statement, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Foundation for Economic Freedom, Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Philippine Investment Funds Association, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. and Shareholders Association of the Philippines said they support the rice tariffication bill approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, saying this would address the rice supply problem and high prices consumers had to face last year.
Edd Gumban
Business groups push enactment of rice tariffication bill
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen business groups have urged President Duterte to sign into law the rice tariffication bill to ensure stable supply of the country’s main staple.

In a joint statement, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Foundation for Economic Freedom, Investment House Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Philippine Investment Funds Association, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. and Shareholders Association of the Philippines said they support the rice tariffication bill approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate, saying this would address the rice supply problem and high prices consumers had to face last year.

“The bill is now with Malaca?ang and we urge the President to sign it into law. Upon enactment, the financial resources, management expertise, logistics support and extensive nationwide distribution system of the private sector will be harnessed to ensure food security, particularly of the most important food stable – rice,” the groups said.

When approved into law, the proposed measure would replace the quantitative restriction on rice imports with a 35 percent tariff.

With the new import regime, rice traders would be allowed to import rice from various sources without permit from the National Food Authority, as long as they obtain a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of Agriculture and pay the appropriate tariff.

A P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund would also be created under the bill.

The fund would be used to provide farm machineries and equipment; develop and promote inbred seeds;  extend credit; and equip farmers with skills on rice crop production and other modern techniques.

The groups said approval of the bill into law would address concerns on food supply as well as price stability, ensuring free and open competition.

 “On the part of consumers, maintaining a strategic reserve of rice stock is essential to guard against supply dislocation that may arise in case of natural calamities, climate change and disruption in the world market of rice,” the groups said.

Apart from benefiting consumers, rice farmers are also expected to gain as they would be given protection from unfair competition through the imposition of tariff on imported rice. 

The groups said the government should provide support to farmers to help the sector grow and have higher income.

 “We urge the sustained provision of essential support services and facilities – irrigation, better seedlings, modern growing and efficient harvesting technology, safe agricultural chemicals and post-harvest facilities - by the government to further assist the farm sector to be more productive and increase rural income,” the groups said.

RICE TARIFFICATION BILL
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