MAV suspension plan up for review

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas - The Philippine Star
MAV suspension plan up for review
Agriculture Undersecretary Roger Navarro said the department’s proposal is not yet final and would still be discussed in the government’s economic cluster.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA)’s plan to suspend the minimum access volume (MAV) on pork and corn would undergo the scrutiny of the government’s economic cluster, a DA official said yesterday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Roger Navarro said the department’s proposal is not yet final and would still be discussed in the government’s economic cluster.

The MAV is an import volume committed by a country that allows the entry of commodities at a lower tariff rate.

The members of the government’s economic cluster, such as the secretaries of finance and socioeconomic planning, also sit in the MAV Management Committee, the highest policy-making body on all MAV matters.

The STAR broke the story last week that the DA is looking at slashing the imports of agricultural commodities by suspending the MAV on pork and corn this year.

The plan is also aimed at curbing technical smuggling and extending a certain protection to local food producers.

However, Navarro maintained that the country’s MAV system has to be “rationalized” to protect local food producers from “unfair” competition posed by imported supplies.

Navarro argued that some meat traders and importers who have a MAV allocation are diverting their imported stocks to the market, thereby competing with locally produced pork products.

“It will be remiss on us if we will not show our concern to the local producers. To support the local producers, we would like to show our concern by giving them a reprieve,” Navarro said in a press briefing at Malacañang yesterday.

“It would be remiss if we are not going to do this. But this is a plan and it is not yet final. It has to be discussed in the economic cluster,” he said.

Navarro reiterated that removing the MAV system would “stop” or “eliminate” technical smuggling of the concerned agricultural commodities.

The country imposes a two-tier tariff system because of the existence of MAV, with imported products within the MAV being levied a lower tariff.

Technical smuggling occurs when imported commodities are declared to be within the MAV, thus avoiding payment of higher tariffs to the government.

“We all know that MAV is being used for technical smuggling. We need to stop technical smuggling. And one of the ways to stop or eliminate technical smuggling is by doing away with MAV,” Navarro said.

“What we are saying is we have to rationalize the MAV. Who are the processors? Then they are the ones who have the right to import through the MAV. What is currently happening is that the traders who have MAV (allocation) sell their meat products in the wet market and compete with the local producers,” he added.

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