DA not limiting meat importers – farmers’ group

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
DA not limiting meat importers � farmers� group
A vendor arranges meat up for sale at Paco Public Market in Manila on February 1, 2024.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — A farmers’ group is slamming meat importers over their threat of higher pork prices.

Meat importers are not being limited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and they can still freely import, according to Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag).

The Philippines has been importing pork at a much lower tariff of 25 percent instead of its commitment to the World Trade Organization of 54,000 metric tons per year at 35 percent tariff, Sinag executive director Jayson Cainglet said.

Despite this, consumers have not been reaping the benefits of cheaper pork despite the lower tariff, he added.

“Is their importation being restricted? Obviously they are not being limited to import. What are importers complaining about? Is there no end to their greed?” Cainglet told reporters.

Sinag also hit importers and the National Economic and Development Authority for high pork prices, which they blamed on COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and the El Niño phenomenon.

“Is it not enough that local producers were penalized and government revenue lost in the last four years, yet consumers did not benefit since pork prices did not decline?” Cainglet lamented.

The DA earlier said it is eyeing to limit the country’s agricultural imports by temporarily suspending the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork and corn this year.

“We laud the DA leadership in rejecting the whims of these importers. No one is stopping them from importing and the DA has not ceased from issuing SPSIC,” Cainglet said, referring to the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances.

President Marcos had issued Executive Order 50, in which pork imports within the MAV are levied with a 15 percent tariff while shipments outside it are slapped with a 25 percent tariff until yearend.

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