NFA rice import losses to hit P1.4B, say solons | Inquirer News

NFA rice import losses to hit P1.4B, say solons

/ 05:48 AM February 24, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Militant lawmakers on Sunday said the National Food Authority’s losses from the importation of millions of tons of overpriced rice from Vietnam since last year would hit P1.42 billion.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement the NFA’s recent purchase of one million metric tons of rice from Vietnam for the country’s buffer stock for the third quarter this year was overpriced by P899 million.

Colmenares said the NFA had already lost P521 million from last year’s overpriced purchase of 500,000 MT of Vietnam rice for buffer requirements in the first quarter this year.


Colmenares cited the US Department of Agriculture’s Grains Report, which showed that the prevailing  market price of rice  was only  $377.86 per MT from Nov. 16 to 22 last year compared to the NFA’s purchase from Vietnam at $462.25 per MT during the same period.


Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate warned the overpriced rice would lead to higher prices later this year.

Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap said the NFA imports would “flood the local market and compete with the rice produced by our farmers because (the rice imports) would arrive during the harvest season from April to May.”

Colmenares said Congress should investigate the NFA’s buying decisions to determine whether the agency was acting in the best interest of the people.

“I think that it would be more prudent to hold the importation of the one million MT of rice until all has been done to ensure that the Filipino people are not being duped,” said Colmenares.

But an agriculture industry alliance, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), defended the Department of Agriculture’s policy of keeping the NFA as the sole importer of rice amid warnings the Philippines could face sanctions for continuing to impose quantitative restrictions on rice.

Sinag chair Rosendo So said in a statement the Philippines had 22 pending dispute cases with other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and adding one more infraction—keeping its rice market closed to foreign players to protect local players—would push it closer to being penalized by the global trading body.


“If we follow the assumptions of so-called trade experts, there would have been global trade chaos given the number of cases filed by WTO-member complainants against each other. More than the Philippines, trade sanctions and penalties should have long been imposed on the US and EU since both of them—including our major trading partners—have hundreds of dispute cases between them,” So said.

“Trade sanctions are never imposed at the first instance. Under WTO rules, the losing defendant should instead bring its domestic policy in line with the ruling,” So said.

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TAGS: losses, Philippines, Rice Imports, Vietnam

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