Industry stakeholders hailed as timely the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to reduce import duties on pork for the next 12 months despite Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s branding it as ‘bad news.’
Mr. Duterte approved the lowering of tariff on imported pork to address the current supply shortage in the country prompted by the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) said the tariff cut is a victory for millions of Filipino consumers who have been suffering from the shortage of local pork, thus pushing prices to levels beyond their reach.
In a statement, the group said meat processors and legitimate importers “will benefit from this landmark decision, and this will allow us to bring back affordable value-added pork products to the market.”
“We understand that this reduction of duties is for all importers, and we enjoin the country’s hog industry to take part as well,” it added.
The President issued Executive Order (EO) 128 reducing the tariff rates for both in-quota and out-quota imports of pork to boost supply and tame prices.
The current tariff for in-quota pork is 30 percent and 40 percent for out-quota.
Under EO 128, the in-quota or within the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork for the first three months upon effectivity will be 5 percent, while 15 percent for out-quota or outside MAV or the maximum importations allowed for a certain period.
Local producers not happy Sotto remained firm in his earlier pronouncements saying that the reason the Department of Agriculture (DA) gave in proposing the tariff reduction on pork importation is “not acceptable.”
He said local producers will not be happy with the recent developments as they continuously appealed to the Senate to thumb down the suggestions made by the agriculture department.
The DA has made repeated calls to lower tariff from 30 to 40 percent to five percent and to increase the MAV from 54,000 metric tons (MT) to 404,000 MT.
“The local hog raisers will be utterly disappointed not to mention the members of the Senate! That is bad news!” he said in a text message to reporters.
“The MAV could have been raised but not the lowering of tariff. The reason cited for the lowering of taxes is not acceptable. There must be something else. That’s what we want to find out on Monday,” he added.