The Philippines is expected to be allowed to retain import restrictions for rice until 2017, a senior government official said Monday.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the Philippines has secured the nod of the Council for Trade in Goods of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for its request to again extend the implementation of quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports until 2017. The first five-year extension of the QR expired in 2012.
Alcala said the formal approval of the WTO for the Philippines' bid to retain the import restriction may be granted in July.
The QR has allowed the Philippines to limit the volume of rice which may enter the Philippines. Under the scheme, Manila slaps a tariff of 40 percent for rice entering within the so-called minimum access volume of (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons (MT). MAV refers to commodities that are allowed entry in the Philippines at a lower duty.
In its bid to retain the import restriction, Alcala said the Philippines has been forced to allow a "minimal" increase in the MAV for rice as a concession.
The government said earlier that the Philippines needs to continue implementing the QR to protect millions of Filipino rice farmers from "cheap" imports.
The Philippines imports rice mostly from Vietnam and Thailand to beef up the stocks of state-run National Food Authority which has been mandated to stabilize rice prices.