12-month tariff reduction on pork, rice imports eyed
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) intends to cut tariffs on imported pork and rice for the next 12 months to ease supply constraints and consumer prices.
A document obtained by the Inquirer dated Jan. 28 showed that the Philippine Tariff Commission would hear the DA’s proposal on Feb. 4.
The DA recommended reducing tariff rates for both in-quota and out-quota imports of rice and pork—a move that some traders described as a strategy to secure sufficient stocks as international prices are expected to rise amid tight supply.
Under the proposal, the DA recommended that pork imports under the minimum access volume (MAV) be imposed a 5-percent tariff for the next six months and a 10-percent tariff for the succeeding six months from the current rate of 30 percent.
For pork imports outside MAV, the DA suggested that tariffs be reduced to 15 percent for the next six months and 20 percent in the succeeding six months from the current 40 percent.
Similarly, all rice imports are proposed to be slapped with a lower tariff of 35 percent from an in-quota and out-quota rate of 40 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua expressed support for the agency’s proposal.
“In general, we support the proposal of the DA. In fact, the committee on trade and related matters met and endorsed it but it will have to go through the proper process … and the tariff commission is going to immediately conduct the consultation and the due diligence,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday.
Earlier this week, a group of meat processors urged President Duterte to scrap tariffs on pork, which some local farming groups opposed.
Switch to fishAn industry group is encouraging consumers to switch to fish as an alternative source of protein to avoid high prices of key food items in the market.
“Per capita, Filipinos consume about 60 kilos of meat protein per year. Sixty percent of that, or roughly 36 kilos, comes from fish, according to government data. Hence, fish like milkfish (bangus) and tilapia can be a real lifesaver especially for low-income families,” the group Tugon Kabuhayan said in a statement.
Based on the DA’s price monitoring reports, aquaculture commodities like milkfish and tilapia are sold at an average of P170 and P120 a kilogram, respectively, against pork and chicken prices averaging at P400 and P170 per kilo.
Citing data from fish producers in Taal Lake and Pampanga province, Tugon Kabuhayan said the downward trend in the farm-gate price of tilapia might lead to lower retail prices from February to March.
The end of the closed fishing season this month is also seen to depress prices of round scad.
“The past years have shown stable growth in the production of aquaculture commodities, especially tilapia. We strongly urge the public to buy more affordable and locally produced bangus and tilapia. Patronizing these commodities will encourage production, which will further stabilize supply and fish prices,” the group said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.