Flour millers are calling for the retention of most favored nation tariff on imported wheat flour or meslin flour and imported milling wheat.
The Philippine Association of Flour Millers Inc., in a letter dated Mar. 7, 2023, asked the Tariff Commission to keep the 7-percent MFN duty on wheat flour and zero duty on imported milling wheat.
“The local flour milling industry has substantial capacity to produce the country’s wheat flour requirement,” said PAFMIL executive director Ric Pinca.
Rica said that without local production of milling wheat, the country would continue to import 100 percent of its requirement for food-grade milling wheat which would be processed into wheat flour.
The petition for both traded commodities would cover the period 2024 to 2028.
Pinca said demand from bakeries and manufacturers of pasta, noodles and pastries continued to drive flour and milling wheat importation.
Flour millers noted that milling rate is only half the country’s milling capacity of 6 million metric tons. “This means, our combined local capacity is still very underutilized. There is more that we can do to increase our utilization,” Pinca said
PAFMIL counts among its members seven of the country’s biggest and oldest flour millers—RFM Corp., Wellington Flour Mills, Liberty Flour Mills, General Milling Corp., Universal Robina Corp., Philippine Flour Mills and PILMICO Foods Corp.
The country imports an average of 3 million MT of wheat annually from the US. Other Philippine wheat sources are Canada and Australia.
Russia and Ukraine control about 30 percent of the global wheat supply.