In order to avoid a greater import of rice, the Government decreed a safeguard measure that increases the grain tariff to 46.67% and that will continue until December 31st.
A SEA (Special Agricultural Safeguard) measure is a temporary increase in the tariff applied to an agricultural product, to counteract the increase in imports or the fall in prices of that agricultural good.
According to Felipe Arguedas, Vice Minister of Agriculture, in recent years brown rice imports have had an exponential growth.
By 2016, imports of brown rice were close to 10 million kilos. In the period between January and May 2017, imports were recorded for 3.8 million kilograms, a number that exceeds the level of activation.
Alexander Navarro, who was part of the Directorate of MAG, explained that this is the first time that a SEA by volume is applied in the country.
The measure will not apply to imports originating in the United States, Central America (except Panama), Chile and Mexico, given that the tariff applied under the respective trade agreements is already at 0%.
Erick Ulate, president of the Consumers Association of Costa Rica, believes that the protectionist measure by the government has serious consequences for consumers. In his view, the Government only prevents a higher supply from translating into better prices for buyers, to protect domestic manufacturers.