Raise rampant smuggling of agri goods during China state visit, Marcos urged
MANILA, Philippines — A peasant group is asking President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to raise the issue of rampant smuggling of agricultural products from China during his three-day state visit there this week.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Tuesday pointed out that while China was the Philippines’ leading trade partner in 2021, “there is still an imaginable extent of illicit trade.”
Smuggled onions from China, according to KMP, have triggered an “alarming” rise in retail onion prices to as much as P700 per kilo in some local markets.
And as Marcos would embark on a scheduled state visit in Beijing from January 3-5, the KMP said this concern should be among the talk points of the President when he meets with various Chinese officials.
“As the concurrent agriculture secretary, it is only just for Marcos Jr. to diplomatically call the attention of Chinese authorities regarding the unbridled, large-scale smuggling of billions worth of vegetables from China,” KMP chair Danilo Ramos said in a statement.
He also called on Chinese law enforcement to bolster its efforts “to curb, repress and dispose of all smuggling activities and crimes at their Customs control areas and prescribed coastal or border areas, especially Hong Kong.”
“We know that China customs carry out heavy-handed policies against smuggling. They should do their very best in apprehending big-time Chinese smuggling syndicates who are in cahoots with local smugglers,” Ramos added, noting that the Philippines is losing the billions worth of revenue due to the spate of smuggling activities – mainly from Hong Kong and China.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier claimed that a Chinese-led syndicate was behind the smuggling of agricultural products into the Philippines and vowed to help advance efforts for the House of Representatives to crack down on this “mafia.”
The Bureau of Customs said it confiscated some P23.5 billion worth of contraband goods, including various agricultural products, from January to December 22, 2022.