DA to crack down on dummy permits used by crafty rice traders | Inquirer Business

DA to crack down on dummy permits used by crafty rice traders

/ 04:11 AM February 26, 2020

A year since the implementation of the rice tariffication law, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said they would be updating the agency’s importation guidelines to address loopholes that had resulted in the proliferation of unscrupulous traders.In a press conference on Monday, the agriculture chief said they would blacklist small farmer groups and cooperatives who had freely given away their permits to traders and millers. Many of these groups do not have the financial capacity to import the volume they have indicated in their documents.

In effect, however, they have also passed on their tax exemptions to a third party.

In a previous briefing, Dar said data from the Bureau of Plant Industry—the office res­ponsible for reviewing and approving the release of these


sa­nitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSIC)—showed there were “hundreds” of associations that could be guilty of participating in such a scheme.According to Dar, the Department of Agriculture is already reviewing for cancellation the SPSICs that were not used. There are roughly 1,000 unused permits from 2019.


“We will always strengthen the guidelines,” he said. “We’re looking at a timeline to use the import clearance and when the rice imports should arrive.”

Since the government opened the floodgates for the importation of rice, the country’s rice imports increased by 58 percent to 3 million metric tons in 2019 from 1.9 million MT in 2018 and higher by 275 percent against the 2017 record.

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Services forecasts the country’s rice imports will reach 2.5 million MT this year, lower by 13.8 percent from last year but still the highest globally. —Karl R. Ocampo INQ

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TAGS: Business, rice traders

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