Finance chief defends higher pork imports: Nobody is forced to bring in 400,000MT
MANILA, Philippines— No one is forcing people to bring in 400,000 metric tons (MT) of imported pork products.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III repeated this on Tuesday when senators quizzed government officials about the proposal to increase the minimum access volume of pork imports from 54,000 MT to 400, 000 MT.
At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole, Dominguez underscored the need to raise pork imports to address the shortage of local hog production brought about by the Asian Swine Fever outbreak.
When Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III aired the stakeholders’ concern that the proposed MAV increase was too high, Dominguez said: “Nobody is forcing people to import 400,000 MT. That’s just the gate.”
“Now, if there’s no demand as they claim, the pork will not come in. Believe me. If I were a pork importer, why should I bring in pork if I can’t sell it? That’s just the gate.”
“Nobody is forcing anybody to bring in 400,000 MT. If the domestic production is higher, nobody will bring in pork with that tariff rate. That’s all I’m saying. Trust the market; the market will determine the price,” he stressed.
Sotto quipped, “That’s looking at it at a perfect world, Secretary Dominguez. There will be those who will abuse it, I assure you.”
“Abuse it how? I cant understand. How will it be abused?” the finance chief asked.
Like Sotto, Senator Cynthia Villar reminded Dominguez that the Philippines is “not a perfect market.”
“Hindi komo tama ang policies mo, yun ang mangyayari,” said Villar, who heads the Senate committee on agriculture.
(Just because your policies are right, that’s what’s going to happen.)
“You know there’s always that cartel in the Philippine marketplace na kahit mababa presyo nila, magkakakilala sila (that even if their price is low, they know each other), they will control the price…” she said.
Later in the hearing, Senator Grace Poe observed that “there’s much trust” already lost between the DA and the local hog raisers.
“That really needs to be rebuilt. This is a fundamental factor that will enable the success of any future endeavor,” Poe 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.