The government is looking into the possible dumping of palm oil and the trade remedies that can be applied, such as the slapping of last year, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Thursday.
Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) was aback when palm oil imports jumped by 900 percent annually and breached 200 million kilograms (kg) in 2017.
"The Philippines is now looking into the world, and there is a great deal of growth in Malaysia and Indonesia. Palm oil arriving in the country breached about 200 million kg, "he told reporters in an interview.
"From only 20 million kg in 2016, palm oil arriving in the country breached about 200 million kg last year. Indonesia was about 120 million kg, "he added.
While the entry of palm oil imports was legal, Piñol said traders may be dumping the commodity in the country, which he said is a cause for concern for the local
He said he was instructed to investigate the import of drugs.
Waiting for the results of the investigation, the farmer said that he would order the flooding of the palm oil as an immediate measure.
"According to our WTO [World Trade Organization] Negotiators, the Philippines could invoke a claim. And for the next 200 days we could impose tariffs on these items so that we will be able to protect our local farmers from further injury, "he said.
The DA chief said he will "immediately sign the order to address the flooding of the palm oil in the country. Because right now it is tariff-free. "
Under Undertaker Act 8800, or the Special Safeguards Act, the government could slap or increase tariffs or even reimpose quantitative restriction (QR) if an import wave is proven.
The agricultural chief may be proprio to conduct a preliminary investigation, if any, in the domestic sector.
The results of the preliminary investigation will be transmitted to the Tariff Commission, RA 8800.
However, if delays in the preliminary sector, "which would be difficult to repair," "then the agriculture secretary, provisional general safeguard measure. "
"If this is the case, it will not be possible for a person to pay for a fee." case quantitative restriction may be set, "RA 8800 read."
"When the provisional safeguard measure is in the form of a tariff increase, such increase shall not be subject to or restricted to the maximum level of the tariff as set forth in Section 401 [a] of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, "it added.
Under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards Article 12, a member-country should notify the body if it initiates a safeguard investigation or imposed on safeguards related to import.
The WTO gives the reimposition of QRs and increased tariffs that the imports were proven to be harmful to a country's domestic sector.
"A WTO member may take a safeguard action [i.e., restrict imports of a product temporarily] only if the increased imports of the product have been caused by serious injury, "according to the WTO.
When asked if the Philippines would notify the WTO about its investigation, Piñol replied that he had referred the matter to the DA's trade remedies team.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country's imports of palm oil and its fraction nearly doubled to 144.509 million kg from January to September, from last year's 73.571 million kg.
PSA historical data also showed that the nine-month palm oil import volume had already surpassed the total import volume of 95.006 million kg recorded in 2017.
This is also the highest volume of palm oil imported since 2007, and PSA data showed. About 53.94 percent of total palm oil imported by the Philippines during the nine-month period came from Malaysia, while 45.70 percent was sourced from Indonesia.
Malaysia exported some 77.961 million kg of palm oil to the Philippines in the January-September period, while Indonesia shipped about 66.050 million kg.
The country's palm oil imports in 2017 doubled to 95,006 million kilograms, from 47,149 million kilograms recorded volume in 2016, according to PSA data.
The bulk of the imports, or about 58.96 percent of the total volume came from Malaysia, which reached 56.016 million kilograms, nearly double the 28,355 million recorded in 2016.
Indonesia exported about 38.549 million kilograms of palm oil to the Philippines in 2017, more than double the 18.487 million kg it shipped in 2016.