MANILA - The Philippines' grains procurement agency said on Thursday it will allow private rice traders to import as much as 163,000 tonnes of the grain this year, nearly two-thirds of which can come from Thailand.
Rice importation by the private sector is allowed every year in line with the country's commitment to the World Trade Organisation. The Philippines is one of the world's biggest buyers of the grain.
"We are now accepting applications and private rice traders can take advantage of the cheap rice being offered by Thailand," Dennis Arpia, senior executive assistant at the National Food Authority (NFA), told Reuters.
Private traders can apply to import up to 98,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand this year, with a duty of 40 percent, Arpia said. An importer is required to buy a minimum of 2,000 tonnes and a maximum of 5,000 tonnes.