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Rice import applications reach 1.6 million metric tons

Rice import applications reach 1.6 million metric tons

MANILA: As the Philippines opens its market to cheap imported rice, the number of applications to bring in the commodity under the out-quota scheme has reached 1.6 million metric tons, almost near the projected record-high imports for the country.

Based on the updated list released by the National Food Authority, 278 firms have already applied for the out-quota importation of 1.6 million MT of rice to be sourced from countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Taiwan, among others.

The number of applications is expected to breach the 2.6 million MT projection of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is seen to further increase as the Rice Import Liberalization Act takes effect.

USDA hiked its earlier projection of 2.3 million MT following reduced crop estimates and the lifting of the quantitative restriction on the commodity.

The National Food Authority (NFA) will eventually stop processing applications as the Bureau of Plant Industry will be the one to issue permits under the rice tariff regime.