DA to impose provisional 20 percent tariff on Turkish flour

July 26, 2013 10:59 am 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, July 25 (PNA) — Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala Wednesday night said that a provisional duty can now be imposed on Turkish flour while public hearings on the concerns of small flour millers and community bakers are being conducted.

Alcala said that he had already signed an administrative order to that effect which he said is effective immediately.

“A 20 percent duty can be imposed on Turkish flour so there can be a level playing field for the meantime,” he said.

The 20 percent increase is temporary and will hold until such time that the Tariff Commission completes an investigation into a flour milling group's application for a permanent hike in import duty.

The provisional tariff is one of the tools that the government can use to protect local industries from dumping, which is the practice of one country selling its products in another country at prices way below those prevailing in the home market.

The Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL), a group of small flour millers, has earlier asked the DA to investigate the alleged dumping of Turkish flour into the country and wants the DA to raise the import duty on Turkish flour to 20 percent from 7 percent,

The group said imported Turkish flour cost USD 340 per metric ton as of November last year, or way below the USD 470 per MT prevailing inside Turkey.

Bakers buy Turkish flour for P700 to P750 per 25-kilogram, which compares with P750 to P900 per 25 kg bag for locally-milled flour.

PAFMIL members – which include RFM Corporation, Liberty Flour Mills, Wellington Flour Mills, Universal Robina Corporation, General Milling Corporation, Philippine Four Mills and Pilmico Foods Corporation – said that the influx of Turkish flour has caused them to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, a group of community bakers had opposed PAFMIL’s petition on grounds that it will increase their operating expenses.

The Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association claimed that a higher cost of input will mean a matching increase in prices of bread and other four-based products.

Worse, they said community bakeries that cannot cope with higher operating costs would have to shed employees or close shop.

However, Alcala said PAFMIL has vowed to keep prices of locally-milled flour unchanged and keep market well-supplied if the government will address the alleged dumping of Turkish flour into the Philippines. (PNA)

DSP/CMR

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