May 5, 2004

 

 

Philippine Feed Millers Ask Govt To Import Corn At Zero Tariff

 

Philippine feed millers have asked the government to allow corn to be imported duty free to address a shortfall in domestic supply, a feed milling industry official said Thursday.

 

The official said a tight local supply has led corn prices to rise to 12 pesos ($1=PHP55.46) a kilogram from a price range of PHP9.20 to PHP10/kg less than a month ago.

 

The Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. has requested the National Food Authority, or NFA, hold another tender seeking corn imports at zero- tariff, he said.

 

The NFA held a tender April 2 to seek supply of up to 350,000 metric tons of corn imports duty free.

 

However, industrial users of corn, for whom the NFA scheduled the tender, bought only 10,000 tons as offers made at the tender were at high levels. Toepfer International Asia Pte. Ltd. will supply the 10,000 tons at $186.80/ton, C&F, omnibus origin.

 

The feed milling industry official said that since a total of 350,000 tons of corn imports have been allowed to enter the country at zero-tariff, the NFA should be allowed to hold a tender to buy the remaining 340,000 tons of corn duty-free.

 

Under the law, only the NFA, a state-owned grains trading firm, is allowed to import grains at zero-tariff.

 

Imported corn faces a tariff of 35% to 50%.

 

The shortfall in local supply of corn has been aggravated by high prices of both corn and wheat in the international market.

 

Corn and wheat are major ingredients in animal feeds.

 

NFA deputy administrator Gregorio Tan said the NFA will schedule the tender if the Department of Agriculture grants approval.

 

According to Tan, under the guidelines for the approved 350,000-ton import volume, no imports are allowed to arrive in July and August, the peak harvesting period for local corn.