Oct 232013

MANILA, Philippines – Three countries have endorsed the Philippines’ bid to keep its special restriction on rice imports until 2017.

The National Food Authority (NFA) said China, India and Indonesia have supported the country’s petition to continue imposing its quantitative restriction (QR) on rice during a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade in Goods (CTG) in Geneva.

Rice is the only commodity in the Philippines that enjoy a special restriction.

“The outcome of the CTG (meeting) has reinvigorated and boosted the country’s efforts in pushing the initiative into positive conclusion by early next year,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Romeo Recide, chief negotiator of the Philippines, said.

The country’s petition will be tackled again in the special CTG meeting in March, during which a general consensus on the matter is expected to be arrived at.

“If this goes well, we may get the general concensus by March,” said NFA administrator Orlan Calayag, adviser to the negotiating panel.

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This corresponds to the final approval of the Philippines’ petition on the QR extension.

Participating in the negotiations for the country’s bid for QR extension are Australia, China, Canada, India, Indonesia, El Salvador, Pakistan, Thailand, US, and Vietnam. Also included in the negotiations are European Union, Japan and Korea.

“What is important is that we get the consensus of the countries we are negotiating with,” said Calayag.

The European Union, Japan and Korea have also shown support for the country’s petition.

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