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The Philippines will impose higher tariffs on Turkish wheat flour in the next four months after Manila discovered that Ankara was shipping the product here at artificially low prices.

In an order, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the anti-dumping duty, which would be on top of the seven percent tariff imposed on Turkish flour, would amount to the following:

- 35 percent on hard flour for bread;

- 39.26 percent on biscuit flour; and

- 35.21 percent on soft flour for pastries and cookies.

“After a thorough examination of the evidence, data and other comment/positions by interested parties, the preliminary investigation has established the existence of a threat of material injury to the local industry caused by the importation of alleged dumped wheat flour from Turkey,” Alcala said.

The Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL) sought the anti-dumping duty as early as May last year. The local industry had complained that Ankara was exporting its flour at prices lower than what was prevailing in Turkey.

According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the price of flour in Turkey stood at $10.37 per metric ton, way below the $138.97 export price.

The DA also noted a surge in imports from 6.12 percent in 2010 to 11.79 percent two years later, of which 9.44 percent came from Turkey.

Under Republic Act 8752, or the Anti-Dumping Act, the Philippine government can impose a provisional duty while it investigates any claim of such uncompetitive trading practice. The Tariff Commission is tasked with investigating the matter and coming up with a final ruling on the existence of anti-dumping.

PAFMIL executive director Ricardo Pinca said the DA decision is “pro-Filipino, pro-fair trade and pro-Philippine labor."

“The Philippine wheat flour milling industry has been on the receiving end of unfair trade from Turkey with its cheap subsidized flour being dumped at much lower prices here,” Pinca said.

“With the government seeing the truth of dumping behind the veneer of very strong Turkish lobby, the Philippine industry can at last breath a little, to say the least,” he added.

The Philippine move to impose an anti-dumping duty comes more than a year after Indonesia ruled the same and slapped a 20-percent safeguard tariff on Turkish flour.

The price of flour in Turkey stood at $470 per metric ton in 2012, but exports were priced lower, as follows:

- $351 in Indonesia;

- $367 in Malaysia;

- $349 in the Philippines;

- $407 in Singapore;

- $400 in Thailand; and

- $337 in Vietnam.

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