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BSP WPS 2020-06: Deregulation and Tariffication At Last: The Saga of Rice Sector Reform in the Philippines

Rice has dominated Philippine food security and agricultural policy for the last century. Central to the policy has been government control of rice trade, particularly of imports, implemented through import licensing and quotas, buffer stocking and industry regulation executed by the parastatal National Food Authority (NFA). Since the early 1980s, many analysts have pointed out the rent-seeking and inefficiencies spawned by the restrictive trade and regulatory regime in rice. Many attempts to reform the sector failed, largely due to the political weight of rice protection and the NFA. However, on 5 March 2019, Republic Act 11203 finally deregulated rice trade and domestic commerce by eliminating the import monopoly powers of the NFA and replacing quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tariffs. This paper documents: (a) the most important features of rice policy and its impact in the Philippines prior to 2019, and (b) the story of how the entire economic decision-making cluster of the Philippine cabinet (including the Department of Finance and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines), backed by a popular President, and a collaborative legislature finally enabled rice sector deregulation and import tariffication in 2018-2019.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Authors Keywords
Tolentino, V. Bruce, J.; de la Pena, Beulah Maria; RA 11203, rice deregulation, tariffication, National Food Authority;
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