House probe of proposed pork tariff cut sought | Inquirer News
LOCAL PORK INDUSTRY TO BE AFFECTED

House probe of proposed pork tariff cut sought

/ 05:46 AM March 14, 2021

PRICEY MEAT Live hogs are seen being transported by a truck in Cainta, Rizal. Prices of pork have surged due to supply problems. —LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines – Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimo of the  House minority bloc wants a congressional probe of the National Economic Development Authority’s (Neda) recommendation to address persistently high prices of pork by easing import restrictions.

Quimbo filed House Resolution No. 1635 on March 9 amid concerns that lower tariffs may adversely affect the local pork industry that has already been hit hard by the African swine fever (ASF) since last year.

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Quimbo also urged her colleagues to find out what has happened to the Agriculture Competitive Enhancement Fund (Acef), which receives all duties collected from the importation of agricultural products, except rice, in accordance with Republic Act No. 8178, or the Agriculture Tariffication Act.

The law provides that the Acef should be used as credit for farmers and fisherfolk, grants for research and development, and as grant-in-aid program for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary medicine education.

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In her resolution, Quimbo also pushed for the creation of additional policy measures to ensure that local hog raisers are provided sufficient capacity building assistance, and to facilitate the overall development of the pork industry.

Neda’s proposal sets tariffs for imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) at 5 percent, which will be adjusted to 10 percent after three months. Tariff for imports outside the MAV will be set at 15 percent “to help address recent supply disruptions.”

The present tariff rates under a MAV of 54,000 metric tons is at 30 percent, while tariff rates outside the MAV are currently at 40 percent.

Quimbo noted that reduced tariffs benefit downstream companies and consumers by increasing available supply and decreasing pork prices that has reached P400 a kilo in some markets, but it will likely be detrimental to local hog raisers who have already lost much because of ASF.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that at least a third of the country’s hog population was decimated by the yearlong swine fever epidemic.

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TAGS:  Stella Luz Quimbo, House probe, pork import restrictions, pork tariff cut
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