Why SL Agritech did not pay customs duties

Posted at 01/23/14 10:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines – SL Agritech Corp. on Thursday clarified that it is exempted from paying customs duties because it is importing hybrid rice seeds and not rice.

Henry Lim Bon Liong, chairman and chief executive of SL Agritech Corp., said his business is involved in manufacturing hybrid rice, but is classified under the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as a rice importer.

“Ang mga seeds, hindi bigas ‘yun and not subject to customs duties,” he told dzMM.

The latest Tax Watch ad released by the BOC showed that aside from SL Agritech, other top rice importers Bayer Cropscience Inc, Jardine Distribution and Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, also did not pay any customs duty on their rice imports.

Liong said these other firms are also engaged in the manufacturing of hybrid rice, which exempts them from customs duties.

The BOC also noted in the ad that certain importers are exempt from customs duties, as specified in the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP),

The state-run National Food Authority (NFA) was the country’s top importer in 2013, importing P4.35 billion worth of rice.

The NFA is also exempted from customs duties.