President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation to increase the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) for pork by 350,000 metric tons (MT) will result in losses on the part of consumers and local hog raisers, a group said. 


In a statement, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) Chair Rosendo So said “only a handful of privileged importers and those getting ‘tongpats’ [or kickback] will benefit from tariff reduction and MAV expansion”.

Malacanang recently confirmed that Duterte, upon the proposal of the Department of Agriculture (DA), has recommended to Congress the increase in the MAV for pork by 350,000 MT, in addition to the current MAV of 54,210 MT for the year 2021.

(Keith Bacongco / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)


Pork imports falling within the MAV are levied a lower tariff of 30 percent compared to pork imports outside the quota, which is slapped with 40 percent tariff. 


“This is an inglorious moment for the agriculture sector when the DA, the very agency that is mandated to protect and support local agriculture is the chief architect of its destruction,” So said.


“The timing of the letter reeks of cowardice. Congress has not been given the chance to deliberate on the matter since the DA knew it can never justify its proposal on a fair platform,” he added.


He also pointed out that in all previous hearings in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the DA was not able to rebut any of the arguments raised by the stakeholders and official data coming from the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The Senate, in fact, adopted a resolution requesting the President to reject the twin proposals of the DA to increase the MAV allocation on pork and reduce pork tariff.


To recall, the DA also wants pork imports under MAV to be slapped with further lower tariff from the current 30 percent up to 5 percent.


For pork imports outside MAV, its recommendation is for the tariff to be reduced from the current 40 percent up to 15 percent.


“No one is against importation; importer can import all they want in the current tariff structure and still profit from it,” So said.


Bureau of Customs (BOC) record of declared price (landed cost) of importers on prime pork meat is averaging at a low import price of P81 per kilogram (/kg) from January 2020 to February 2021. 
Still, the retail price of pork over the past weeks average at P350 to P400/kg.


“Importers are easily profiting between P200 to 250/kg at the current retail price,” So said.


“We are hoping that our champions in the Senate and in the House of Representatives can respond within 15 days to the letter of the President,” he added.


The DA is also not yet off the hook for the so-called tongpats scandal, which is allegedly happening at the DA wherein some of its officials get a kickback for every kilo of pork and chicken imported.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/03/30/consumers-producers-see-losses-due-to-hiked-pork-import-volume/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=consumers-producers-see-losses-due-to-hiked-pork-import-volume)