AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar has terminated the process of studying the imposition of safeguard duties on imported rice.
“The decision by the department is to have this be discussed first with the economic developers of the government, so the first process is terminated,” Mr. Dar told reporters after a press briefing on Friday.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be discussing the safeguard duties with economic development managers on Oct. 24, Thursday.
The Philippines had initially informed the World Trade Organization of its investigation into safeguard duties on Sept. 12. A WTO member can impose safeguard actions if it can prove that imports are the cause of injury on the domestic industry.
The prices of palay or unmilled rice have been declining following the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law that liberalized rice imports.
Meanwhile, the DA asked the National Food Authority to release more than three million bags of rice imports to the market. The NFA is expected to give the DA a report by this weekend.
The DA also plans to implement sanitary and phytosanitary measures to inspect for sanitary issues of imported rice stocks at the port of origin.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the average farmgate price of palay fell by 1.4% to P15.96 per kilogram (/kg) on the third week of September.
The retail price of well-milled rice and regular-milled rice both fell by 0.3% to P42.11/kg and P37.66/kg, respectively. — Jenina P. Ibañez