WHILE it supports initiatives to reduce tariffs on pork to alleviate the shortage and arrest spiraling prices of pork items, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) is seeking an amendment on pork tariff reduction.
“We propose instead that the most favored nation in-quota and out-quota rates be equalized or made uniform at five percent for the first six months and 10 percent in the next six months,” Pampi said in a letter addressed to Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
“The uniform in-quota and out-quota rates are neither unusual nor irregular. Such uniform rates are already in place as assessed in the case of poultry under Heading 0207 which has the same rate of 40 percent in-quota and out-quota. Our proposed amendment will avoid legal complications that could delay implementation of the tariff modification,” the group added.
The Cabinet-level Committee on Tariff and Related Matters has agreed to lower pork tariffs to allow entry of cheaper imports. The DA petitioned for an in-quota rate of five percent for first six months, 10 percent for the next six months and out-quota rate of 15 percent for the first six months and 20 percent for the next six months.
Pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) or in-quota are currently slapped with 30 percent, while imports outside the MAV are levied with 40 percent tariff.
Under the DA proposal, MAV license holders will enjoy the lower tariff while non-MAV importers will have to pay the higher rate.
“This, we believe, will give rise to questions of propriety and graft as the proposed new lower rate gives undue advantage to MAV license holders and discriminates against other importers who will have to pay a much higher rate,” the group noted.
“Under our proposed amendment, all importers will enjoy equal treatment from the government, and no party will be prejudiced,” Pampi said.
Earlier, Pampi sought President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to import 50,000 metric tons (MT) of pork at zero tariffs.
The proposal came after the DA finalized the plan to triple the MAV allocation for pork imports — from 54,000 MT to more than 160,000 MT. (KOC)