Thursday, May 22, 2008
When All Else Fails
"Phillipine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said she is considering rolling back government rice-import subsidies--a move proponents say could help curb corruption and free up funds to stimulate local rice production. ... Last week, the Phillipines agreed to buy more than 300,000 tons of rice from Thailiand, Vietnam and Pakistan at an average price of more than $1,100 a ton--up from $360 a ton at the beginning of the year. ... Arroyo said ... 'In the longer term, with prices being where they are now and if they continue to stay where they are, then it would be good economics to look at producing more of it ourselves.' ... [T]he Phillipines ... uses high import tarriffs of 50% on rice to protect local farmers and stimulate rice production. ... Sen. Edgardo Angara, a former secretary of agriculture, argues that if private-sector rise traders are allowed to import and sell rice without any restriction, supply and prices will stabilize. Removing subsidies will also remove opportunities for unscrupulous traders to sell subsidized rice--both imported abd locally produced--at commerical-market prices. ... In addition, Mr. Angara says that by removing subisidies, the Phillipines will have more funds to develop rice production". WSJ, 28 April 2008.
What's so hard to understand? Now if Hank Paulson talked like Angara, we might be able to resolve the 'housing crisis" quickly.