Duterte seeks higher pork imports with low tariffs

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

The increase was in addition to 54,210 metric tonnes of pork imports under a lower tariff rate, Presidential spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in a statement.

“It is about immediately increasing the supply of pork, stabilizing the rise in prices and solving urgent food security problems,” he added.

The Agriculture Department had previously recommended reducing tariffs on pork imports to 5%, from 30% under the minimum access volume quota for six months amid an outbreak of African swine fever. The rate will be increased to 10% over the next six months.

He also proposed to extend the minimum access volume to 400,000 MT against 54,000 MT due to the price increase and to reduce the tariff for imports beyond the quota to 15% from 40%.

The Senate this month passed a resolution calling on the President to declare a state of calamity due to African swine fever and reject the Department of Agriculture’s recommendation to increase the minimum access volume for imports of pork.

“The increase in MAV and lower tariffs, ironically proposed by the DA itself, would further derail the recovery of the pork industry, if not completely kill the local industry,” according to the resolution. – Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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