FFF projects P548 million in foregone revenues from lower rice tariff

FFF projects P548 million in foregone revenues from lower rice tariff

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A farmer’s group is claiming that the country could lose around P548 million in revenue annually if the proposal to lower the tariff on rice imports from non-ASEAN countries is approved.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) disputed estimates made by the Tariff Commission (TC) that the reduction of the tariff rates for rice imports to 35 percent would result to approximately P60 million in foregone revenue on importations from India, Pakistan and other non-ASEAN sources.

The TC presented the estimates in a report to the inter-agency Committee on Tariff and Related Matters (CRTM).

“In 2020, the country imported 76,000 tons of rice from nine non-ASEAN countries with a CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of P3.65 billion. The revenue loss will be P548 million or nine times the TC estimate, if the tariff is reduced to 35 percent, “ FFF national manager Raul Montemayor said.

FFF said it based its computations on 2020 import volumes recorded by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Montemayor said the largest non-ASEAN supplier was China and not India or Pakistan, and that most of the imports from China were grossly undervalued.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier filed a petition seeking to reduce the in-quota and out-quota tariffs on rice imports from non-ASEAN countries from 50 percent to the ASEAN rate of 35 percent for a period of one year as a preemptive measure against the growing prices of rice from Thailand and Vietnam, which are traditional suppliers to the country.

At present, rice imports are slapped with a tariff of 50 percent for outside the minimum access volume (MAV) and 40 percent for within the MAV.

The FFF emphasized that there is no need to encourage imports from non-ASEAN countries since all import restrictions had been removed following the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) in March 2019.

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