New Imported Rice Tax Increase Actually Lowers Prices While Strengthening Domestic Producers in Costa Rica

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Domestic Costa Rican rice producers are applauding the government’s decision to increase tariffs from 35% to 62.06% on imported milled grain, a measure that will benefit both consumers and domestic suppliers.

    The safeguard proposed by the National Association of Rice Manufacturers (ANINSA) and adopted by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade (MEIC) will be in effect for four years, and excludes milled rice from Central America and the United States due to a prevailing trade agreement signed by both parties.

    ANINSA President, Eduardo Rojas, said imported rice was endangering more than 1,000 Costa Rican farmers. The increase in the tariff will improve internal productivity of the country and allow rice to be sold at more affordable prices for Costa Ricans.

    “The WTO allows the country to use such instruments so that we can organize internally and improve production,” Rojas said.

    The owner of Canas de Guanacaste, Fabián Chacón, was pleased with the announcement released Thursday because he believes that this way the grain stays in-country, unlike many other products.

    “You want to restore food security in this country. Corn and beans have practically disappeared from production. The last one on the table is rice and it’s being seriously threatened by imports,” voiced Chacón.

    Meanwhile, another domestic producer of rice, Alex Rojas, said the increase in the tariff will ensure a healthy competition between rice suppliers.

    “This move comes at the right time because opportunists importers from Uruguay recently surfaced who were cheap that what we could compete with,” he added.

    Moreover, the MEIC is analyzing a further proposal to reduce the price of rice by 4%. This negotiation will be resolved in the coming weeks. (Amelia Rueda)

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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