Government working on new SRP for imported pork

Frozen meat products are seen inside the chiller at Commonwealth market in Quezon city on Thursday, April 29, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The government will set a new suggested retail price (SRP) for imported pork possibly this week, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said yesterday.

“The price based on the lower tariff, we are now making the calculations and we are doing this in tandem, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),” Dar said at a briefing. “Maybe next week, we will announce the (new) suggested retail price,” he added.

Currently, the SRP for a kilo of imported pork shoulder or kasim is P270 and for imported pork belly or liempo the SRP is P350.

On Wednesday, Dar said the government’s economic team – of which he is a member – proposed to the Senate a 10 percent tariff for the first three months for in-quota pork imports or those under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV), higher than the five percent tariff under executive order (EO) 128. This will be increased to a tariff rate of 15 percent in the remaining nine months.

Out-quota pork imports will be subject to 20 percent tariff for the first three months, higher than the 15 percent under EO 128. This will be increased to 25 percent in the remaining nine months.

Apart from tariff rate adjustments, Dar said the economic team and the Senate also agreed that the MAV be reduced from 404,000 metric tons (MT) to 254,210 MT.

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In March, President Duterte recommended to Congress an increase in the MAV for pork for this year by 350,000 MT from the 54,000 MT.

Senators had voiced support for concerns raised by hog raisers that lowering tariffs on pork imports and increasing the MAV allocation would kill the local hog industry, already reeling from the effects of African swine fever (ASF).

Sought for comment on an SRP for imported pork with the adjusted tariffs, Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) president Jess Cham said the market is expected to find equilibrium, but at a higher price level.

“With approximately five percent increase in landed cost we would expect with a simple calculation of five percent max price increase. So P300 liempo becomes P315,” Cham said.

Cham, however, pointed out that each importer works under different conditions.

The MITA president said earlier importers are amenable to a 15 percent tariff rate for pork imports, but emphasized that this should be implemented for five years to ensure the supply of affordable pork while local producers work to recover from ASF.

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