The tariff adjustment was not due to any trade agreement discussion.  

It was mainly due to rising prices of rice from major import source like Vietnam and Thailand which are Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and which have 35% tariff rates. And since we want to ensure sufficient stocks of rice for the consumers to ensure low and stable rice prices, we have to consider sourcing from areas outside ASEAN which have lower prices and the idea is just to have parity tariff of 35% for rice coming also from outside ASEAN, to lessen cost of acquisition to benefit the consumers.  We need to diversify our sourcing.

Again, there is still a high tariff of 35%, tariff is NOT brought down to zero. There is still tariff protection.

The Rice Tariffication Law has brought down rice prices to benefit all Filipinos. And it created a Fund to be used to help the farmers increase productivity and output. The tariff reduction can benefit future talks with other countries but tariff was not reduced because of these talks, but primarily because of how it will benefit directly the Filipino consumers through lower rice prices.♦

Date Released: 28 May 2021