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Brosas: Top rice importer tag on PH should prompt junking of Rice Tariffication Law

15 September 2023

House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas on Friday called on the Marcos administration to repeal the Rice Tariffication Law amid a projection that the Philippines is set to overtake China as top rice importer.

"The Marcos Jr. administration should respond to this by junking the Rice Tariffication law because this law only strengthened our import dependency and worsened our trade deficit," Brosas said at a press briefing.

The Rice Tariffication Law, or Republic Act 11203, allows unlimited entry of imported rice in the country.

Brosas made the call in response to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) projection that the Philippines will be top importer of rice for the trade years 2023 to 2024 at 3.8 million metric tons (MT), beating China's 3.5 million MT even if China has a population of over a billion people as against the Philippines' around 100 million people.

The USDA defines a trade or marketing year as the 12-month period at the onset of the main harvest, when the crop is marketed, meaning it is consumed, traded, or stored.

According to Brosas, the Rice Tariffication Law "just opened the floodgates for massive rice importation, to the detriment of the farmers."

“We call on the administration to repeal this (Rice Tariffication Law) and prioritize the welfare of our farmers, the self-sufficiency of our rice production and food security," she said.

The Rice Tariffication Law, signed in 2019 by then-President Rodrigo Duterte, was crafted to bring down rice prices in the market.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who is the concurrent Department of Agriculture secretary, has issued Executive Order No. 39, which mandates the price of regular milled rice at P41.00 per kilogram and well-milled rice at P45.00 per kilogram to address the increase in rice prices.

The government, however, has conceded that setting the price cap will affect rice traders and is giving them aid to cushion such impact. —KBK, GMA Integrated News

Source : MSN