FFCCCII backs Marcos Jr. in extending import tariffs on agri-products

FFCCCII backs Marcos Jr. in extending import tariffs on agri-products

Despite backlash from other agricultural groups, the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. said they are supporting the move of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend the lower tariffs on rice and other food commodities until the end of 2024, saying that many consumers will enjoy lower prices.

"Tariff is good, and it also helps our farmers. I'm sure he knows what he is doing, given the data he has. But I am sure he decided with one thing in mind, and that is to make the country prosper at para matulungan ang mga kababayan nating nahihirapan," said Dr. Cecilio Pedro, president of FFCCCII at the sidelines of the conferring of the special plaque of citation to Ms. Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee in Binondo, Manila on Thursday.

Pedro said it is on the shoulders of President Marcos Jr. to balance the weight of producers versus the consumers, a tough job that needs to be addressed.

"Mas marami pa rin naman ang consumers. But how do you balance the two, then that is for the President to decide. As president of the FFCCCII, I am in favor of what will benefit the masses or the greatest number of people here in our country. How about those with disabilities if we raise the prices of commodities? That is my core belief, to help those that are underprivileged," Pedro told the Daily Tribune.

Earlier, Elias Jose Inciong, president of the United Broiler Raisers Association, stressed that the EO defeats the purpose for which it was designed.

"Since this is the third time, it means it doesn't work. The purpose is to bring down prices or make it affordable, to stabilize prices and to diversify sources. Clearly, it has not worked. You know, it cannot be that every year you just extend," Inciong said.

In signing Executive Order 50, the President said the current economic situation in the country justified extending the lower tariff rates on rice, corn, and swine meat to maintain competitive market prices.

"The present economic condition warrants the continued application of the reduced tariff rates on rice, corn, and (pork) to maintain affordable prices to ensure food security," Marcos was quoted in a statement.

Given the impending consequences of the El Niño dry weather phenomena early next year and the ongoing threat of African swine fever, Marcos said that maintaining the modified tariffs is intended to ensure affordable prices for rice, corn, and meat products.

The new EO states that import taxes on corn would remain at 5 to 15 percent and on meat products at 15 to 25 percent, while the tariff rate on rice would remain at 35 percent.

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