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DA to cancel inactive import permits for pork, chicken

/ 06:22 PM August 10, 2018

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has decided to cancel the import permits for pork and chicken that importers are not using.

This decision was made after a two-hour consultation with stakeholders of the agriculture industry.

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Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an ambush interview after the consultation that the non-use of the import permits may be the reason for the rising prices of food items in the market, which registered the highest jump at 7.2 percent.

“We are now starting to believe that the reason they are not using it is that they want to hold on to their MAV allocation and use this during the peak season when they would make more money,” the secretary said.

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“They’re waiting for peak months – during ‘ber’ months – where prices would go up,” he added.

The MAV, or minimum access volume, is the allowed amount of imports that can enter the country at a certain lower customs duty, under an agreement with the World Trade Organization.

Piñol noted that the main purpose of the MAV allocations is to enable the private sector to “contribute to the stabilization of the supply and prices of the market.”

For July, the country’s inflation rate hit another fresh high of 5.7 percent, with the elevated prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages as the primary cause.

Effective Monday, DA will cancel all import permits under MAV to be given to other companies willing to use the license.

Of the existing permits issued for pork and chicken, 41 percent and 43.11 percent, respectively, remained inactive.

The secretary explained that even as the retail prices of these food items continued to rise, their farm-gate prices registered “negligible” increments, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

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“The movement of the prices is caused by speculation,” he said.

Piñol clarified, however, that the mandate of his agency was on the production side.

“How to tame the market is the task of another agency. That could be DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” he said.

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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, DTI, Economy, Emmanuel Piñol, import permits, minimum access volume, World Trade Organization
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