Tax on rice imports down as shipments slumped 61.8%
Due to the lower rice import volume, tariff collections slid by nearly a fourth to P1.71 billion as of mid-February this year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.
Citing the latest Bureau of Customs data, the DOF said in a statement that the duties collected from imported rice between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14 declined 23.1 percent from P2.22 billion a year ago.
As of mid-February, 209,320 metric tons (MT) of rice entered the country, a 61.8-percent drop from 759,810 MT during the same period last year.
Citing the BOC’s report, the DOF noted that the Rice Tariffication Law was not yet in effect at the start of last year as it was signed into law in mid-February 2019.
Republic Act No. 11203 slapped the following import duties on rice: 35 percent if rice is imported from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean); 40 percent if within the minimum access volume (MAV) of 350,000 MT from countries outside Asean, and 180 percent if above the MAV and coming from a non-Asean country.
Earmarked for RCEF
In 2019, the implementation of RA 11203 generated a total of P12.3 billion in rice import duties as the private sector imported 2.03 million MT of the Filipino staple.
Of last year’s collection, P10 billion will be automatically earmarked for the yearly Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) aimed at modernizing the sector, while the excess amount will be allocated to local farmers whose livelihood were affected by the surge in imports due to liberalized trade.
In turn, the DOF said rice retail prices already dropped by a minimum of P9 a kilo after the import quota aimed at protecting the domestic industry was lifted while importation and regulation were taken away from the state-run National Food Authority. INQ
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