US blocking Philippine bid for rice quota extension


by Orti Despuez

Dec. 4, 2012



MANILA - The US is blocking the Philippine bid to extend its rice import restrictions, a non-government organization (NGO) said on Tuesday.


In a statement, Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) said Washington has raised "serious concerns" about Manila's application before the World Trade Organization for an extension of the Philippines' quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports.


“The US appeared to be bent on blocking our QR request while the other nations that also raised reservations before are now agreeable to it,” Aurora Regalado, R1 convenor, said, citing a recent meeting of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods.


Regalado said the extension of the QR on rice is important for the Philippines' bid to achieve rice self-sufficiency.


“Why can't a big country like the US moderate their greed? Aren't developing countries like the Philippines entitled to develop its own agriculture?” she said.


R1 has campaigned for the extension of QR on rice since 2005. The government has been pushing for the extension in line with its goal of attaining rice self-sufficiency in 2013.


“While the QR for rice is important, it is equally essential to ensure the judicious implementation of other interventions such as NFA’s procurement of a significant portion of local palay at a higher price than the market rates, irrigation facilities, investments in post-harvest facilities, affordable credit to finally get us to our dream of self-sufficiency,” Jaime Tadeo, spokesperson of the National Rice Farmers Council, said.











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