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Business

MITA disputes allegations of chicken, meat over-importation

- Marianne V. Go -

MANILA, Philippines - The Meat Importers and Traders Association, Inc. (MITA) disputes allegations of over-importation of chicken and meat products.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, MITA president Jesus Cham pointed out that the perceived “import surge” of chicken MDM has been due mainly to the drop in Indian buffalo imports, another raw material for processing.

MDM is a raw material for processing. It is 80 percent lean compared to buffalo meat which is 95 percent lean.

According to MITA’s calculations, a kilo of Indian buffalo meat would be replaced by about 1.2 kilos of MDM.

Cham argued that chicken importers have not exceeded their quota allocations and that any excess importations have been due to the Department of Agriculture’s waiving of the special safeguards to allow out-quota imports.

MITA urged the DA to conduct an audit of all poultry imports over the past years and publish the results to put to rest the issue of over-importation of the poultry quota.

MITA, likewise, defended the importer against allegations of smuggling, stating that “no smuggler is so foolish as to place contraband in a container of meat that would be 100 percent inspected by Customs, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and finally the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).”

MITA countered that “any smuggling would take place in “non-meat” containers such as frozen seafood, vegetables and fruits, dairy, etc.”

Furthermore, MITA fingerpointed, “an additional source of leakage would be the export processing zones wherein bonded product is not truly processed and re-exported.

“Coordination with the other DA agencies — the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) — as well as the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) will be needed,” MITA said.

On the issue of imported pork meat and offal in the wet market, MITA cited the fact that the Philippines, being a signatory to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture, is committed to provide access to its markets.

There has been a call for an increase in the tariff imposed by the Philippines on pork meat and offals in the face of increasing imports of those products to the disadvantage of locally-produced pork.

MITA defended the rise in imports of pork meats and offals to a confluence of factors that include favorable prices and exchange rates and normal market developments.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA

BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES

BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

JESUS CHAM

MEAT

MEAT IMPORTERS AND TRADERS ASSOCIATION

MITA

NATIONAL MEAT INSPECTION SERVICE

PHILIPPINE EXPORT ZONE AUTHORITY

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