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Revised pork tariff rates await Duterteâs signature
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the National Economic and Development Authority yesterday submitted to Malacañang the revised pork import tariff rates and minimum access volume level.
Presidential Photo/Ace Morandante, file

Revised pork tariff rates await Duterte’s signature

Louise Maureen Simeon, Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Following the compromise reached between the Senate and the government’s economic managers, the revised tariff rates and volume for pork imports are now awaiting President Duterte’s signature.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) yesterday submitted to Malacañang the revised pork import tariff rates and minimum access volume (MAV) level.

Senators and the economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had agreed to amend Executive Order 128 after weeks of discussions to soften the impact on local hog raisers and consumers, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto.

“Who wins here? I think the Filipinos will win because we were able to strike a balance between the plight of the backyard hog raisers and local producers. The economic managers have the opportunity to reduce inflation by I think more than 20 percent,” Sotto told reporters.

The President will have to sign and modify EO 128 for the revised rates and volume to take effect.

Adjusted rates have been set to 10 percent for those inside the MAV and 20 percent for out-quota imports for the first three months. These will be increased to 15 percent and 25 percent, respectively, for the remaining nine months.

Asked whether the compromise is enough to help temper the rising meat inflation, Chua said they would “regularly review the impact.”

The senators and economic team also agreed that MAV will be reduced from 404,000 metric tons to 254,210 MT.

Sotto said the economic managers were initially playing safe in recommending lower tariff rates in pork importation, but the approach would affect local hog raisers.

He noted that the “win-win solution” is not solely for the pork industry, which has allied industries such as swine feeds, transportation and others.

Sotto said most of the senators were supportive of the compromise. However, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Cynthia Villar have some reservations on the date of the implementation of the amended EO.

Earlier, NEDA said the 400,000 MT imports originally set would help reduce inflation by 0.4 percentage points to reach government targets for the year.

While headline inflation was steady in April, pork inflation rose to 57.7 percent and remained as the top contributor to the overall rate.

“Meat has been persistently the top contributor to inflation this year, hence, we need to temporarily augment our pork supply through importation. Retaining the status quo will cause 100 million Filipinos to suffer longer from high food prices,” Chua said. – Catherine Talavera

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