• DA seeks 20% tariff on Turkish flour

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    The Department of Agriculture has recommended to the Tariff Commission the imposition of a provisional 20-percent tariff on Turkish flour, as the government conducts public hearing over the alleged “unfair” trade practices over the commodity.

    Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that he has issued an administrative order (AO), which is effective immediately, following the assessment conducted by the Philippine agriculture office in Turkey that confirmed that Turkish flour importers are dumping flour in the Philippines.

    “The AO will help level the playing field for the meantime,” he told reporters.

    “Our agricultural office in Turkey has confirmed that Turkey is selling their flour at lower prices here,” Alcala added.

    Earlier, the Philippine Association of Flour Millers (Pafmil) millers filed a petition to increase the tariff on imported flour to 20 percent, from the current 7 percent. The group is particularly against the import of cheap flour from Turkey, which has been easing out local flour millers.

    Pafmil clarified that the antidumping petition is only against Turkish flour, noting that their appeal is a reply to Turkey’s unfair trade activity. At present, there are Indonesian flour, Vietnamese flour, Australian flour and even Indian flour being shipped to the Philippines.

    The group represents RFM Corp., Liberty Flour Mills, Wellington Flour Mills, Universal Robina Corp., General Milling Corp., Philippine Four Mills and Pilmico Foods Corp.

    Citing industry data, PAFMIL said that average export price of Turkish flour was $276 a metric ton while their domestic price was $600 a metric ton in 2010; while in 2011, export price was at an average of $388 a metric ton against the Turkish domestic price of $600 a metric ton. Last year, it was $340 a metric ton against their domestic price of $470 a metric ton.

    Turkish flour exports to the Philippines grew by 16 percent in 2011 and 71 percent in 2012.

    In contrast, the local flour industry grew by only 1 percent to 2 percent during the same periods.

    The Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc. and the Philippine Baking Industry Group earlier said that they would have to raise prices of bread and flour-based products if a higher duty is imposed on cheap Turkish flour.

    The small bakers’ group said that price of the Pinoy Tasty is expected to go up by about P3 to P4 each loaf from its current price of P37, while the cost of a 10-piece pack Pinoy Pan de sal may increase by up to P2.

    James Konstantin Galvez

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