DA may raise tariffs if rice prices fall to P42-P45/kg

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas - The Philippine Star
DA may raise tariffs if rice prices fall to P42-P45/kg
Photos show workers unloading sacks of rice from a truck along Dagupan St. in Manila on February 7, 2024.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said he is open to filing a petition to raise rice tariffs later this year if the reduced rates would prove effective in pulling down the retail prices of the staple to as low as P42 per kilo.

Tiu Laurel said the mandated review on the reduced rice tariffs under Executive Order (EO) 62 would help the government in determining if it is about time to raise tariffs.

Rice tariffs were slashed to 15 percent – the lowest rate in the country’s history – by President Marcos through EO 62, which also mandates a review after four months of implementation.

The reduced rice tariffs, which were already lowered to 35 percent in previous EOs, will take effect on July 5, or 15 days after the publication of EO 62.

Without any tariff adjustments, the country imposes a 40 percent tariff on in-quota rice imports and 50 percent on out-quota imports.

“The review will suffice to make sure that in case rice prices have gone down and consumers are already happy, then maybe we can increase again the tariffs,” Tiu Laurel said in a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday.

The mandatory review is set in November, coinciding with the peaking of the country’s main palay harvest season.

Tiu Laurel noted that officials project world rice prices to fall by that time as India is expected to lift its export ban on non-Basmati rice.

“If the rice prices drop significantly, then yes (we will petition for the increase of rice tariffs),” he said.

The agriculture chief is looking at a price range of P42 to P45 per kilogram as a trigger point for the DA to file the petition to raise the tariffs before the Tariff Commission.

At present, retail prices of well-milled rice range from P52 to P55 per kilogram while regular-milled rice is between P48 and P51 per kilogram.

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