The Bureau of Customs registered a spike in pork imports following the government’s order lowering tariffs on swine meat shipments that aims to stabilize the domestic supply and prices, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the Customs bureau said pork imports reached 76 million kilos from April 9 to June 11, accounting for 69 percent of the total 110 million kilos brought into the country so far this year.

In April alone, importers brought in 24.45 million kilos of pork, higher by 500 percent compared with only 4.07 million kilos a year ago.

Another 36.5 million kilos of pork arrived in country in May, also higher by 506 percent versus 6.02 million kilos in the same month in 2020.

From June 1 to 11, about 15.14 million kilos were brought into the country by pork importers.

To recall, President Duterte issued a series of executive orders (EOs) cutting tariffs on incoming swine meat shipments and increasing the allowable import volumes for a temporary period.

EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to five percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months was in effect from April 7 to May 14.

EO 134, which superseded EO 128, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV to 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.

For imports outside the MAV, the tariffs are 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent in the succeeding nine months.

The one-year effectivity of EO 134 began on May 15, 2021.

EO 133, meanwhile, increased the MAV for pork imports in 2021 from 54,210 metric tons to 254,210 metric tons, provided that any unavailable balance at the end of this year shall not be carried over to 2022.

“For the period April 9 to June 11, 2021, the BOC posted a total collection of P846.96 million. We estimated the revenue losses from EOs 128 and 134 to have reached P1.356 billion for this period,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said.

Dominguez earlier said he expects revenue losses from lower pork import tariffs to reach P11.2 billion this year under EO 134, but will result in around P50.1 billion in savings for consumers from lower pork prices.

“The subsequent easing of inflationary pressures far outweigh the state revenue loss from the temporary tariff cuts,” Dominguez said, citing the estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority.

Source: Manila Bulletin (