India and China are backing the Philippines’ request to the World Trade Organisation for persisting its import ceilings on rice in line with its food security needs.

The US, Canada, Australia and Thailand, though, are playing hardball. They said that they were still checking with the Philippines, a person who attended the recent WTO’s council for trade in goods meeting told Business Line.

The Philippines has obtained the WTO’s approval to remain with the quantifiable margins on rice imports until 2017.The distinctive treatment for rice that the WTO permitted Philippines expired in June 2012.

“India has been struggling for all developing countries at the WTO to ensure that their rights to food security are not breached. The Philippines’ request should be supported by all countries,” a Government official told Business Line.

India itself is engaged in a rough combat at the WTO for legitimizing farm grants for its food procurement programme and is extreme to upkeep poorer countries getting special treatment for confirming food security.

Indonesia and Vietnam, too, have derived out in backing of their neighbour and collected with India and China have insisted other countries to complete discussions with the Philippines early.

Subsequently the Philippines has been lasting with its quantifiable restrictions on rice imports notwithstanding the special allowance ending in 2012, it can be pulled into disagreement by any WTO member country for breaking multilateral rules that prohibits such restrictions.

In the quantitative restriction system, the Philippines is sanctioned to import 350,000 tonne of rice yearly under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV).

Imports in the MAV quota are imposed a duty of 40 per cent, whilst imports above the quota is imposed a higher import duty of 50 per cent. The Philippines has claimed that the restraining duties are crucial to guard its local farmers.

 

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