Group backs safeguard measure on imported rice
The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) is reviving the idea of imposing a safeguard measure on imported rice, but it does not want to make the first move of actually filing a petition.
FPI chair Jesus Lim Arranza said in a statement that farmers could file a petition to impose a safeguard duty on rice imports, which he said would be the fastest response to the problem of rice imports flooding the market at the expense of local farmers.
Safeguard measures are generally imposed when a domestic industry has been harmed by the surge in imports.
The industry, or in this case the farmers, has the burden to prove how it was hurt by imports, or at least how more imports would eventually be a threat to the local industry.
“It is not hard to prove that there is an import surge, as rice import surge is an economic reality that is known to the government’s top hierarchy,” he said.
“Even President Duterte and top Department of Agriculture (DA) officials know of the import surge, prompting the president to momentarily suspend rice importations,” he added.
The DA used to consider imposing a safeguard duty on imported rice to help cushion the blow on farmers of cheap imported rice. But this idea was eventually thumbed down.
The Duterte administration has left the public confused regarding the fate of the rice tariffication law, which opened the floodgates for imported rice as long as they pay the prescribed tariff.
Duterte had previously announced the suspension of the law, only to be contradicted by his economic managers later on.
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