THE Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) has declared its support for a reduction in rice tariffs as a temporary measure to address shortages in the commodity.
In a statement, the chamber said it backs the proposed temporary reduction in tariffs on imported rice to between 0% and 10% to stabilize prices and supply.
Last week, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno proposed to temporarily reduce the 35% rice import tariff to as low as 0%.
“The FFCCCII believes that Secretary Diokno’s proposal to temporarily reduce the said rates … would not only translate to a decrease in rice prices and temper the increasing inflation in food prices, but also address the demand-supply gap,” it said.
It added that the move will “undeniably” mitigate the sharp increase in the price of the staple.
However, FFCCCII said the lowering of the tariff should be coupled with other measures to ensure long-term stabilization of prices.
It also noted the need to address the needs of the broader public before worrying about the effect of imports on the income of domestic farmers.
“At this time of soaring prices and lack of supply of this staple, we need to consider foremost the needs of our consuming public, the over 110 million Filipinos, and support this short-term measure,” FFCCCII said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile