MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Rice production in the Philippines is forecast to rise in 2017-18 because the quantitative restriction on rice imports, which was set to expire on June 30, 2017, remains in place as there has been no amendment to the Agriculture Tariffication Act,according to a recent Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report said 2017-18 rice production is put at 11.97 million tonnes, an increase of 770,000 tonnes from its July forecast.  As a result, imports are forecast to drop by 400,000 tonnes to 1.3 million, and ending stocks were raised to 2.3 million tonnes from 1.9 million.

The Philippines’ quantitative restriction for rice imports that was granted by the World Trade Organization expired on June 30, but the Philippine government unilaterally extended the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) commitments of 805,200 tonnes and corresponding tariff concessions.

“The MAV and tariff concessions will remain in place until Dec. 31, 2020, or until an amendment to the Agriculture Tariffication Act (which prevents rice from tariffication) is passed,” the report explained. “The legislative amendment required to move to a tariff-based system and end the qualitative restriction has not been passed. A bill to this effect is being developed by Congress, the timeline of which is unknown.”