Written by the Web Team
Economists, policymakers, researchers, and representatives from the rice sector reviewed the Philippine trade policies and set the sector’s direction in a seminar held in Makati City, Sept. 26.
Aileen C. Litonjua, a researcher from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said outputs of the seminar would aid legislators in creating policies that will secure and promote local products and protect producers amidst the expiration of Quantitative Restrictions (QR) on rice.
QR, which ended last June 30, limits the volume of government’s annual rice imports through the National Food Authority.
Currently, economists and policymakers are debating whether QR removal would be a boon or bane to the rice economy. Extending the QR on rice in 2005, the advantages and disadvantages of tariffication, and the global competitiveness of the Philippine rice industry are also topics being rounded up in the rice sector.
In 1995, the World Trade Organization granted the country with an exemption for the removal of QR on rice. Since then, the government has repeatedly applied for QR on rice to protect the market from the influx of cheap imported rice from other countries and prevent displacing the local producers and loosing local production.
If the government’s appeal for QR extension gets slammed, experts said the country would resort to tariffication, which would place a set amount of tax on rice goods that enter the Philippine market.
The seminar, titled Philippine trade policies and rice security: Future directions, was conducted in celebration of the Development Policy Research Month held every September.