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Special lanes for arriving rice imports sought

17 August 2023

Special lanes for arriving rice imports sought

MANILA, Philippines — “Super green lanes” should be allowed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to ensure the timely arrival of 1.1 million metric tons of imported rice, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.

During a hearing of the House committee on agriculture, DA Undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations Mercedita Sombilla said the agency has recommended to President Marcos to direct the BOC to establish special lanes for imported rice.

“For a limited time, perhaps until February 2024, institute a super green lane for rice imports upon presentation of the required documents and paying the necessary duties and taxes. The DA should be allowed to monitor arrivals under the green lane scheme to gather the volume of arrivals,” Sombilla told the House panel.

She said at least 300,000 metric tons of imported rice should arrive this August and another 300,000 MT in September to ensure enough supply during the lean months.

She said another 500,000 MT of imported rice should come in the first quarter of 2024.

Sombilla said the government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, should follow up with Vietnam, Thailand, India and other exporting countries for assistance to sell their surplus rice to private importers.

She said the government should extend the implementation of Executive Order 10, which imposes lower duties and taxes for some commodities including rice.

Abono party-list Rep. Robert Estrella said the DA “raised the white flag” with Sombilla’s recommendation to address the tightness in rice supply through importation.

Source: Philstar