DA calls for fair trade amid influx of “undocumented” rice imports
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has called for a fair trade as he admitted that there now an influx of undocumented rice imports in the country.
Dar said the rice industry stakeholders must uphold free and fair trade amidst negative perception on rice importation under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
“It is true that under RTL, we encourage free trade primarily to lower the price of rice in the market. But let me also emphasize that we operate on the premise of fair trade, regardless of the volume that we are looking into. Our measures to ensure this has always been in place,” Dar said.
The DA chief also clarifies the seemingly abnormal shoot up of rice imports in the country for 2019.
Reports from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) show that rice import volume since the implementation of the RTL only reached 1.87 million metric tons (MMT) from March to October this year.
Meanwhile, the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) only accounted 2 MMT in the application for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) Import Clearance or SPSIC for imported rice.
Dar said the 2.99 MMT imports reported by BOC reflects the total rice imports in the country for the year, even before the implementation of RTL.
During his recent visit in Brunei, Dar asked his counterparts, the agri chiefs from other rice exporting countries, particularly Vietnam and Thailand, to hold the release of export permits to rice traders without the Philippines-issued SPSIC.
“With agreement from my counterparts in rice-exporting countries, we hope to arrest the influx of undocumented imported rice coming in the country. This is our move as we prepare our local rice industry to produce more with less cost,” Dar said.