The government hopes to conclude by October this year the negotiations for the extension of the country’s quantitative restriction (QR) on rice, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
DA Assistant Secretary Romeo Recide, co-lead negotiator for the Philippine mission, said that the agency wants to finish negotiations within the next two months in time for the submission of their report to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Committee on Trade and Goods.
“WTO asked us to continue negotiations with countries interested in our QR, and to report on the progress of negotiations this October,” Recide said.
“If it is positive, and if there’s an endorsement from the WTO Committee, it will go back to the General Council. Once officially approved, by 2014, we would be implementing or we should be operating under a new QR extension,” he added.
Manila has been consistently lobbying with its Southeast Asian neighbors and other major trade partners, citing the need to prepare Filipino farmers for international trade and to achieve rice self-sufficiency.
An extension of the quantitative restriction will allow the Philippines to limit the volume of rice that can be imported by the government every year, preventing the influx of cheap rice from other countries.
The government earlier said that it is asking for a five-year extension, but may only get another three-year extension like that of South Korea.
“But we have stressed to interested countries and the WTO that our QR extension should be at least until 2017,” Recide said.