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Freeman Cebu Business

Meat processors appeal for eased trade barriers

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The meat processing sector has called on the government to look into some policies that may affect the aggressiveness and growth of the industry.

One move that the government should do is to remove trade barriers particularly the use of reference values in computing import values or tariff, said Felix Tiukinhoy, Jr., president of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc.

He explained that before, importation of meat products was using values examined by the Bureau of Customs to be the market values in calculating for tariff duties.

However, this has"changed because of World Trade Organization. The law now says we should use transaction values which are the actual values in the invoice (proof of purchase)," he told The FREEMAN. Transaction value is the price payable to the seller.

But, the Department of Agriculture "suggested" the reference values, which are so much higher than the actual values in order to discourage importation of meat which processors use as raw materials for their products.

When asked on why DA has discouraged meat importation, he cited that the reason is the demands from another industry - the hog raisers - to the department to get raw materials from them.

PAMPI officials met last week with Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in Cebu to let the Department of Agriculture know some of their concerns and the challenges being faced by the meat processors in the Philippines.

The country's meat industry usually uses beef and pork as raw materials.

"For beef we don't have an industry to talk about it," he added, noting that the pork industry, for its part, does not have an accredited AAA slaughterhouse to provide raw materials of international standards. Slaughterhouse is a place where animals are killed.

"Their products are only good for table and wet markets." He also said Secretary Alcala revealed during the meeting that his department is now putting up an AAA slaughterhouse in Batangas.

"The livestock industry should put up an accredited AAA slaughterhouse to provide our industry the needed quality meat cuts," he further added.

The PAMPI official said the industry really needs improvements in trade infrastructure, noting that "port facilities are inadequate and lead to higher costs."

"We need less government intervention - less bureaucratic red tape," he stressed.

Tiukinhoy, who is also president of Cebu-based Virginia Foods Inc., added that though a lot of policies and procedures that mean a lot of formalities and man-hours have been done,but these still do not benefit the consumers.

The association president emphasized that the business sector really needs a government that "listens and supports" its needs in order to serve the public.

While the meat processors industry in the country has been preparing for the Asean integration next year, Tiukinhoy said they are challenged because most of their raw materials are imported.

"We are in a disadvantaged position in competition as the governments in other Asean countries support their industries," he said. (FREEMAN)

 

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA

ASEAN

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS

CEBU

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

FELIX TIUKINHOY

INDUSTRY

MEAT

PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF MEAT PROCESSORS

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