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Farmers: PH lost P7.2B in 2023 due to undervalued rice imports

01 February 2024

MANILA, Philippines  —The government lost P7.2 billion in tariff revenue last year due to the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) undervaluation of rice imports, a group alleged on Wednesday, noting that the amount could have been used to extend aid to farmers.

The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said the declared costs for imported rice averaged P24.12 per kilogram, or 22 percent lower than the BOC’s P30.78 per kilo reference price.

FFF further pointed out that the BOC could have collected an additional P2.34 per kilo in tariffs “if there was no undervaluation.”

The BOC defines undervaluation as “any dutiable adjustment to the price actually paid or payable,” or a failure to “disclose in full the price actually paid or payable.”

The Philippines imported 3.58 million tons of rice last year, according to FFF. Eighty-three percent came from Vietnam, while less than 4 percent came from countries outside Southeast Asia.

Under the Rice Tariffication Law enacted in 2019, a 35-percent tariff is imposed on imports within Southeast Asia, while a 40-percent rate is applied for non-Asean countries.

Various groups last year pushed for these rates to be reduced to just 10 percent to arrest the surge in prices.

FFF had pointed out, however, that these could hurt the income of farmers.

According to FFF, 90 percent of last year’s imported rice was undervalued, with almost half undervalued by at least 20 percent.

“Tariff losses from rice imports are only the tip of the iceberg,” said FFF national manager Raul Montemayor, adding that pork, chicken, corn and vegetable imports were “much worse.” He did not provide further details.

Source : msn