Duterte seeks higher pork imports with low tariff

President Rodrigo R. Duterte had asked Congress to increase the minimum access volume for pork imports this year by 350,000 metric tons, his spokesman said on Friday.

The increase was on top of the 54,210 metric tons of pork imports under a lower tariff rate, presidential  spokesman Herminio  L. Roque, Jr. said in a statement.

“This is to immediately augment the supply of pork, stabilize increasing prices and address the pressing issues on food security,” he added.

The Agriculture department earlier recommended the reduction of tariffs for pork imports to 5% from 30% under the minimum access volume quota for six months amid an African Swine Fever outbreak. The rate will be increased to 10% in the next six months.

It also proposed to expand the minimum access volume to 400,000 MT from 54,000 MT due to rising prices.It also proposed to cut to 15% from 40% the tariff for imports beyond the quota.

The Senate this month adopted a resolution asking the President to declare a state of calamity due to the African Swine Fever and reject the recommendation of the Agriculture department to increase the minimum access volume for pork imports.

“Increasing the MAV and decreasing tariff, proposed ironically by the DA itself, would further derail the recovery of the hog industry, if not kill the local industry altogether,” according to the resolution. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas