Senate, DA agree on proposal to reduce MAV for pork imports at higher tariffs

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The Senate and the Department of Agriculture have reached a compromise and agreed on a proposal to raises taxes on pork imports, while reducing the minimum access volume.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) — The Senate and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday agreed on recommended adjustments to controversial policies on pork imports.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said that after lengthy deliberations, President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team has reached a compromise with the Senate on pork import tariff rates and the minimum access volume.

DA chief and economic team member William Dar said they recommended that the tariff rates be adjusted to 10-25% from the 5-20% stated under Executive Order 128.

For the first three months, they proposed a rate of 10% for in-quota imports — or those within the minimum access volume or MAV — and 20% for out-quota or those in excess of the MAV. These will then be raised to 15% for in-quota and 25% for out-quota for the remaining nine months.

Both sides also agreed that the MAV be reduced from 404,000 to 254,210 metric tons.

“The recommended revision is necessary to arrest the inflationary impact on millions of Filipino consumers due to the dwindling pork supply,” Dar said.

“Given that we have reached a compromise, we will act without delay to reflect the features of the compromise in a corresponding executive issuance,” he added.

The DA will submit these recommendations to National Economic and Development Authority Board Secretary Karl Chua, who will then make the final proposal to the Office of the President.

Dar said this is only an “urgent short-term measure,” adding they are “aggressively” taking steps to help the local hog industry recover from the impact of the African swine fever outbreak.

National Federation of Hog Farmers President Chester Tan said although they are pushing for the original 30-40% tariff rates imposed before the issuance of the EO, the new deal is an improvement from the DA's previous suggestion.

"Better than the original recommendation of DA, (which is) 5% to 15% (for the first three months) and 404 million kilograms that will discourage commercial and backyard farms to continue and expand production," he said. "This compromise will at least give us a fighting chance and chance to compete."ff

The economic team met with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for four times since late April to discuss a middle ground.

Duterte signed EO 128 last April 7 despite objections from local hog raisers and producers, who said the lower tariffs will bring a total loss of up to ₱14 billion in revenues and would decimate the local pork industry.