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DTI tests staple import program for retailers

AJ Bajo

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is planning an importation program for rice retailers such as fast-food chains, supermarkets and groceries to boost access to more low-cost well-milled rice.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the program will be placed under the DTI’s attached agency, the Philippine International Trading Corp. Under the program, the PITC will be importing well-milled rice in behalf of the retailers.

“The PITC is working on importing rice for certain groups, specifically fast food chains. Before, they depended on traders, (but) now because of the (Rice Tariffication Law), they can import their requirements. Aside from sourcing locally, instead of buying from traders, they can buy directly (through) PITC,” Lopez told reporters at the sidelines of a forum in Makati on Wednesday, 13 November.

“PITC will just import directly in behalf of food chains, for example. (It’s also) open to even smaller groceries, supermarkets who cannot import on their own. PITC can consolidate, integrate and import for them so they get volume discounts,” Lopez added.

He said the PITC is already in the process of pre-screening the applications for retailers for which the agency will import well-milled rice. The rice import source will be determined through a bidding process, he added.

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