Senators gone too far in drafting Rice Tariffication Law
Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said senators have gone too far in drafting the Rice Tariffication Bill, which seeks to replace World Trade Organization’s (WTO) quantitative restrictions (QRs) on rice with tariff.
FFF National Manager Raul Montemayor said legislators went too far in creating the law after removing the powers of the National Food Authority (NFA) to regulate the market.
He noted that WTO rules do not prohibit licensing and supervision of importers, or the operations of government agencies like the NFA which buy and sell agricultural products in the market.
“In fact, many countries require importers of critical products to secure licenses and subject them to strict provision,” Montemayor said.
“Almost all countries have some form of regulation over their rice markets even if they have long removed QRs. Our trading partners in the WTO must be laughing at us for interpreting WTO rules in their favor and making it easier for them to sell their rice to us, while they use every loophol in the rules to protect their own markets,” he added.
The Rice Tariffication Bill will lapse into law on February 17 if President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t veto it.