Amid the anomalies involving the granting of import permits by the government on several agricultural commodities, the United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) sent a formal letter to Senate seeking to abolish the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) scheme on pork and chicken importation.  


In a letter to Senator Cynthia Villar, who is also the senate chair committee on agriculture, UBRA said the group supports the resolution recently filed in the Senate to inquire into alleged anomalies in the implementation of the country’s MAV commitments in the World Trade Organization (WTO).


However, UBRA believes that the government should “not just reform but rather to abolish it.”


MAV refers to the volume of a specific agricultural product that is allowed to be imported with a lower tariff as committed by the Philippines to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  

Pork imports falling within the MAV are levied a 30 percent tariff, while the out-quota tariff is 40 percent. 

As for poultry, it is slapped with an in quota and out quota tariff of 40 percent, though mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken currently enjoys a low tariff of 5 percent.

At present, the MAV allocations for pork meat stood at 54.2 thousand metric tons (MT), while 23.5 thousand MT of chicken can be imported under MAV.

“The MAV, or tariff rate quota in the nomenclature of the WTO, is a privilege enjoyed by importers under the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA). It is a concession granted by the Philippines to the members of the WTO. It assures agricultural exporters that there is a minimum volume which they can export to a particular country at a lower tariff rate,” UBRA explained.

But then, UBRA also said that “exporting countries no longer have any need of that assurance as the prices of these products are very low as they are from countries with heavily subsidized agricultural systems.”

(Keith Bacongco / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)


For 2020, the country’s total pork importation stood at 256.02 million kilograms (kg) or five times the pork MAV of 56 million kg.

Total chicken importation, on the other hand, was 402.7 million kg, including MDM, a paste-like product used by meat processors. The said volume is 17 times the MAV for chicken of 24.49 million kg.

“For chicken, in particular, there should certainly no longer be a MAV,” UBRA said. “Under our schedule of commitments in the AOA [Agreement on Agriculture], the tariff rate became equal at 40 percent for inside and outside MAV in 2005.”

“By definition, therefore, there is no longer a MAV for chicken. It is just there at the insistence of the Department of Agriculture (DA),” UBRA said.

The fastest way to get rid of corruption, therefore, is to abolish the MAV for chicken and pork as it should no longer exist in the first place, the group further said.

Right now, the DA is pushing to reduce the tariff on pork imports as well as increase its MAV allocation in hopes to address the rising prices of meat, especially pork, amid the prevalence of African Swine Fever (ASF).

To be specific, the DA wants to further expand the MAV allocation on pork to 404,210 MT from the current 54,000 MT, a proposal that has already been sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval.

At the same time, the agency also wants pork imports under MAV to be slapped with 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. Both proposals are still pending.

Meanwhile,  the DA recently found itself in hot water for the so-called “tongpats” scandal, which is allegedly happening at the agency where some of its officials allegedly get a kickback for every kilo of pork and chicken imported.

DA, through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), is the agency mandated to issue import permits on agricultural commodities such as pork and chicken.  


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/03/22/senate-urged-to-abolish-pork-chicken-mav/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senate-urged-to-abolish-pork-chicken-mav)