Duterte orders new tariff rates for rice, pork
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued two executive orders setting new tariff rates to ensure sufficient supply of imported rice and pork products and to keep their prices down for at least one year, Malacañang announced on Saturday.
In Executive Order No. 135, Duterte temporarily reduced the most favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for rice to 35 percent, from 40 percent for in-quota imports and 50 percent for out-quota imports, the palace said in a statement.
Malacañang said this was intended to “diversify the country’s market sources, augment rice supply, maintain prices affordable and reduce pressures on inflation.”
The statement said the tariff was reduced following the rise in global rice prices and “uncertainties” regarding the steady supply of rice in the country.
The measure taken was recommended by the National Economic and Development Authority board.
The President’s Executive Order No. 134 modified the tariff rates on imported pork products.
The new tariffs on pork imports under the minimum access volume (MAV) would be 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.
The tariff for pork imports outside MAV would be reduced to 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent in the succeeding months.
Fruits of compromise
The new rates were the result of a compromise between the country’s economic managers and senators who had raised local hog raisers’ concerns about the tariffs set in EO 128 issued last month.
Under EO 128, the tariffs for imported pork would range from 5 percent to 20 percent, which critics said were too low.
Malacañang said the modification was “in recognition of the plight of all concerned sectors and stakeholders, including the local hog industry.”
“Given the continuing spread of African swine fever and its adverse effects, the adjusted tariff rates aim to strike a balance between the objective of making pork products available and affordable, and the concerns of all stakeholders especially the recovery of the local hog industry,” it added.
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