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Business

Meat imports up 5% in 5 months

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Meat imports up 5% in 5 months
A vendor arranges slices of pork at his stall in Kamuning, Quezon City.
STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines registered a 4.8 percent increase in meat imports in the first five months of the year, mainly driven by pork, data from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) showed.

Latest figures from the BAI showed that the country imported 460.9 million kilos of meat and meat products from January to May, higher than the 439.99 million kilos imported in the same period last year.

Pork imports accounted for more than half of the total meat imports at 250.9 million kilos, 16.2 percent higher than the previous year.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pork imports are expected to reach 400,000 metric tons (MT) or 400 million kilos this year, driven by the extended reduced tariffs on pork imports under executive order (EO) 171.

EO 171 extends the lower tariffs on pork under EO 134, which was signed last year, in order to bring down prices and stabilize the supply of pork in the country.

EO 134 reduced the most favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for in-quota pork imports or those under the minimum access volume (MAV) to 10 percent for three months and was increased to 15 percent in the remaining months. This is lower than the original rate of 30 percent.

In contrast, out quota pork imports were slapped with a 20-percent tariff for the first three months, which were raised to 25 percent in the remaining months. This is lower than the original tariff of 40 percent.

Under EO 171, the 15 percent in-quota and 25 percent out quota tariff rates for pork will be extended until Dec. 31.

Apart from pork, chicken imports also had a sizable share of the total meat imports at 28.3 percent with 130.5 million kilos. The figure, however, is a 4.57 percent decline from the 136.8 million kilos in the same period last year.

Similarly, beef imports also declined to 62.88 million kilos from 66.68 million kilos in the same period last year.

Figures from the BAI also showed that the country imported 16 million kilos of buffalo, 251,269 kilos of turkey, 276,264 kilos of lamb, and 20,509 kilos of duck.

Additional data from the BAI showed that Brazil remained the country’s top source of meat imports in the four-month period with a total of 122.77 million kilos.

This was followed by Spain with a total of 87.96 million kilos of meat imports.

Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture (DA) resumed the 30-day extension to the validity of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) for meat imports mainly due to logistical delays in the global market.

In an administrative order, Agriculture Secretary William Dar issued the reinstitution of the temporary extension of the validity of SPSICs for meat imports to 90 days from the original 60 days.

“Re-introduction of measures to prevent the spread of new variants of COVID-19 has affected operations in alternative ports resulting in shipping vessels operating at partial capacity subsequent to delays and extended periods of voyage,”Dar said.

“Major international shipping lines, which represent 80 percent of the overall container trade, reported that at least 30 percent of its sailings will be blocked for Chinese companies in the next few months due to an increased demand for their commodities, thus delaying the entire logistics chain of meat commodities to the Philippines,”he said.

Dar said the temporary extension was also in line with efforts to ensure the overall food supply and security of the country amid the imminent threat of a global food crisis.

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