Senate approves rice tariffication bill on final reading
The Senate approved on third and final reading on Wednesday the rice tariffication bill, which seeks to lift restrictions on rice importation.
Fourteen senators voted to approve Senate Bill No. 1998 — An Act Replacing The Quantitative Import Restrictions On Rice With Tariffs, Lifting The Quantitative Export Restrictions On Rice, And Creating The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, seeks to replace the current system of imposing quantitative import restrictions on rice with tariffs.
Under the bill, rice imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) would be charged a tariff of at least 35 percent, while imports from non-Asean countries would get a tariff of 50 percent.
The measure is expected to alleviate the impact of the nine-year high inflation and address the country’s rice shortage.
Early in October, President Rodrigo Duterte certified the bill as urgent, saying there was a need “to address the urgent need to improve availability of rice in the country, to prevent artificial rice shortage, reduce the prices of rice in the market, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry.”
The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill on the third and final reading in August. /atm
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