Philippines to scrap zero tariff on feed wheat
A government panel In Philippine capital Manila has recommended restoring a 7% tariff on feed wheat imports to protect local corn farmers, a senior official said.
The government had cut the import tariff on feed wheat to zero for six months starting January to aid feed millers hit by high local corn prices.
"The prevailing sentiment is to develop and protect Philippine agriculture," said Thomas Aquino, trade undersecretary and co-chairman of the technical committee on tariff issues.
The local feed industry has imported more than 1.1 million tonnes of feed wheat this year, scheduled for delivery until August, as it recovers from higher raw material costs and animal disease last year.
That compares to just 112,000 tonnes in all of 2008 when surging prices turned off buyers.
The government scrapped the 7% import duty on feed wheat and 3% tariff on food wheat purchases for six months from January to keep bread prices low and aid millers. The zero tariff expired on June 21.
But Aquino said the panel recommended maintaining the zero tariff on food wheat imports until December to ensure prices of bread remain low.
The recommendations will be submitted for approval by economic managers and later to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she returns from an overseas trip.
A group of feed millers is planning to appeal against the potential removal of the zero tariff on feed wheat imports.
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