• Millers assure price of bread products won’t increase

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    The Philippine Association of Flour Millers (Pafmil) on Wednesday assured the public that prices of pan de sal and Pinoy Tasty bread will not increase despite higher import duty on Turkish flour.

    Pafmil Executive Director Ricardo Pinca said that there is no truth to the claims by community bakers that prices of bread will increase by September, as importers of Turkish flour will no longer be able to supply bakers with the low-priced flour.

    The Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc. (FCBAI) and the Philippine Baking Industry Group (Philbaking) 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 of Pinoy pan de sal may increase by up to P2.

    But Pinca stressed that even with the entry of cheaper flour from Turkey, prices of bread remain the same.

    “We believe locally produced flour has the versatility and quality local consumers desire for their bread and our prices are competitive in a trading condition,” he said.

    Earlier, 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 practice. At present, Indonesian flour, Vietnamese flour, Australian flour and even Indian flour are being exported to the Philippines.

    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 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 export 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.

    Pinca said that they expect the Department of Agriculture to decide by September on their petition.

    Meanwhile, the Pafmil official said that they are prepared to increase their production capacity to cope with the possible demand for locally produced flour, if the government would grant their petition to increase tariff on Turkish flour.

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

    James Konstantin Galvez

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