Safeguard duty on rice imports sought

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    Amid the government’s plan to impose non-tariff measures to address the import surge of rice in the country, the Federation of Philippine Industries has urged farmers to file a petition to impose safeguard duty on rice imports.

    Jesus Arranza, FPI chairman, said safeguard duty is the fastest measure the government can implement to address the influx of imports.

    “It is not hard to prove that there is an import surge,” Arranza said in a statement over the weekend.

    The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture & Food Inc. (PCAFI) also warned that the government may be sued for illegally refusing to enforce the mandated safeguards against rice imports.

    The group said the economic managers are committing an illegal act for deliberately abandoning the farming sector as it cited Section of 10 the Rice Tarrification Law expressing that “in order to protect the Philippine rice industry from extreme price fluctuations, a special safeguard duty on rice shall be imposed.”

    PCAFI added the implementation of rice safeguard duties must not be feared as it is flexible and can be applied on a per shipment basis if a price trigger is utilized and may also be adjusted or suspended if certain conditions are met.

    The Department of Agriculture said it will impose stricter sanitary and phytosanitary standards to slow down the entry of imported rice by conducting pre-inspection at the point of origin of imported rice to ensure quality and safety from the spread of crop pests and diseases.