Duterte signs the rice tariffication bill or the "Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act". - PH Trending

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Friday 15 February 2019

Duterte signs the rice tariffication bill or the "Revised Agricultural Tariffication Act".

Duterte signs rice tariffication bill into law

According to some leading source, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the rice tariffication bill amending the two-decade-old Republic Act (RA) No. 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, and replaces the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports with tariff.

Under the new rice importation regime, legitimate rice traders allows unlimited importation of rice  sans NFA permits, provided they secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI ) and pay the appropriate 35-percent tariff to the Bureau of Customs for shipments from neighbors in Southeast Asia.

The NFA, on the other hand, will focus on ensuring sufficient buffer stocks to address emergency situations.  As there is a need to periodically replenish the buffer stocks, NFA can still sell cheap rice, but to very targeted markets.

The law earmarks P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, of which P5 billion will be allotted to farm machinery and equipment to improve farm mechanization and P3 billion to seedlings. The fund intends to ensure that rice imports won’t drown out the agriculture sector and rob farmers of their livelihood.

The rice tariffication bill also provides safety nets to the rice sector as it grants the President emergency power to increase, reduce, or adjust existing tariff rates to safeguard Filipino farmers. The bill also provides the imposition of a special safeguard duty on rice in case of extreme or sudden price fluctuations in accordance with RA 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act.

In the event of possible rice shortage, the bill empowers the President, for a limited period and for a specified volume, to allow importation at lower rates for the benefit of consumers.

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