Home » Customs & Trade, Press Releases » After rice liberalization, is sugar up next?

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Once the Rice Tariffication Bill is signed into law, the government is looking to open up the sugar sector next, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The sugar liberalization idea came up at the recent Economic Development Cluster (EDC) meeting last January 14 on rice tariffication and, in general, on keeping prices of food products low and always in check,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.

Pernia said that sugar tariffication was a collegial idea of the EDC, which may subsequently lead to policy decision and action.

“Sugar is very expensive in the country as supply is dominated by a select few. Intermediation costs are also high,” added Pernia.

“We hope to open up the sector to freer importation, and reduce the price of sugar. It will be a tough battle, but it should be worth the try,” the Cabinet official said.

The rice tariffication bill amends the two-decade-old Republic Act No. 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, and replaces the quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tariff.

The bill, which was ratified by both chambers of Congress on November 28, 2018, will be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.

Mandated through Executive Order No. 24 series of 2017 to promote rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth, the EDC is composed of the Department of Finance as chair, NEDA, Department of Budget and Management, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Cabinet Secretary, Executive Secretary, and the Presidential Management Staff, among others.

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