Reduced tariff rates, higher pork imports ‘mind-boggling’ — Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — Increasing the minimum access volume (MAV) of imported products and lowering its tariff rates appeared to be “mind-boggling,” Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Monday.
At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole, several senators questioned the need to reduce the tariff on pork importations when the government is also proposing to raise the MAV from the current 54,000 metric tons (MT) to P404, 000 MT.
“Sabihin na natin na kailangan nating mag import, e kailangan ba nating ibaba yung tariff? At ang laki ng binaba,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked.
(Let’s say we really need to import, but do we need to reduce the tariff?)
Sotto, who was presiding over as chairman of the committee, agreed with Drilon.
“Correct,” the Senate leader said, “It’s mind-boggling unless were being paranoid right now.”
“But my big question is how were you able to convince the president? Pag nalaman ng Presidente natin itong nagyayaring ito, ewan ko kung pano nyo nakumbinsi, papayagang ibaba yung tariff?”
(When the President finds what’s happening here, I don’t know how you were able to convince him to reduce the tariff.)
More than the issue of importation, Senator Cynthia Villar said the hog industry is more concerned on the government’s move to reduce the tariff for imported pork.
“In fairness to the hog industry, they don’t mind the importation . They just want to maintain the tariff…” Villar, head of the Senate committee on agriculture, said.
“Ang problema… binaba pa yung tariff, inallow pa yung importation. Iyon ang mabigat, yung inincrease yung MAV and then binaba pa yugn tariff,” she added.
(The problem is the tariff was reduced and the importation is also being allowed. That’s the problem—you increased the MAV and then reduce the tariff.)
President Rodrigo Duterte signed last week an executive order lowering the tariff rates on pork importations. He also recommended to Congress to increase the MAV by 350,000MT.
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