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Low tariff on non-rice products

/ 12:12 AM February 23, 2017

Malacañang has approved an executive order that will allow three more years of low tariff rates for non-rice products, keeping the low import duty that would otherwise expire with the quota on rice imports this year, a Cabinet official said.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Duterte government had approved the executive order Monday night, addressing concerns of such stakeholders as the meat industry that fear price hikes once quotas are lifted.

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The EO, however, is yet to be signed by the President.

Nevertheless, it has been approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority, which President Duterte heads.

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This covers non-rice products outlined by Executive Order (EO) 190 Series of 2015.

The products, which currently enjoy lower tariff rates, were originally supposed to lose the benefit at the end of June once restrictions on rice are lifted.

Without any administrative or legal action addressing the QR, rates will go back to the original levels, of as high as 40 percent.

But with the EO, tariffs will remain low.

“We are keeping the lower tariff rates. We will not allow them to go up. The World Trade Organization will welcome this because they want low import duties,” he said in a phone interview.  —Roy Stephen C. Canivel

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