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Pork imports swell to 76M kg following tariff cuts

  • The Bureau of Customs saw a spike in pork imports from April to early June, following the issuance of orders cutting tariffs on swine meat imports and temporarily increasing import volumes
  • April 2021 pork shipments ballooned 500% more than 4.07 million kg recorded year-on-year
  • May 2021 shipments were 506% higher than in the same month in 2020 of 6.02 million kg
  • BOC revenue losses reached P1.356 billion from April 9 to June 11 as a result of the orders

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has reported a spike in pork imports to 76 million kilograms from April to early June, following the issuance of executive orders cutting tariffs on incoming swine meat shipments and temporarily increasing allowable import volumes.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, BOC said pork imports between April 9 and June 11 for both in-quota and out-quota shipments accounted for 69% of the total 110 million kg of swine meat brought into the country from January 1 to June 11.

READ: Duterte signs EO lowering tariff for pork imports

EO 128, signed on April 7, reduced the most-favored nation (MFN) tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) to 5% and 15% outside MAV for the first three months of its effectivity. It was in effect from April 7 to May 14. The temporary reduction of tariff was intended to address the African Swine Fever’s (ASF) impact on pork meat supply and price in the Philippines.

READ: Duterte cuts rice import duty, modifies pork tariffs

On May 15, EO 134 was signed and superseded EO 128 following a compromise between the government’s economic team and the Senate in consideration of the reduced tariff’s effects to the local hog industry. EO 134 had adjusted the tariff on pork imports to 10% within the MAV or in-quota and 20% outside the MAV or out-quota for the first three months, and 15% for in-quota and 25% for out-quota from the fourth to the 12thmonth. Its one-year effectivity began on May 15, 2021.

READ: Compromise deal reached on revised pork import volume, tariffs

EO 133 signed on May 10, meanwhile, increased the MAV for pork imports in 2021 from 54,210 metric tons (MT) to 254,210 MT, provided that any unavailable balance at the end of 2021 will not be carried over to 2022.

READ: EO signed raising pork import MAV to 254,210 MT

Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero in his report during a recent Department of Finance executive committee meeting said importers brought in 24.45 million kg of pork in April, another 36.5 million kg in May, and 15.14 million kg from June 1 to June 11.

The April 2021 shipments were 500% more than the April imports last year of 4.07 million kg, while those for May 2021 were 506% higher than the imports in the same month in 2020 of 6.02 million kg, Guerrero said.

In-quota shipments amounted to 10.46 million kg in April, 10.47 million kg in May, and 2.78 million kg from June 1 to June 11.

Out-quota imports were 14 million kg in April, 26.03 million kg in May and 12.36 million kg from June 1 to June 11, he added.

“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,” Guerrero said.

Dominguez earlier said he expected revenue losses from lower pork import tariffs to reach P11.2 billion this year under EO 134, as the government slashed import duties and raised the MAV import quota to pull down the retail prices of pork products, as prices soared this year following a major supply shortage triggered by the ASF outbreak.

Citing estimates from the National Economic and Development Authority, Dominguez said the projected savings of P50.1 billion to be gained by consumers from lower pork prices and the subsequent easing of inflationary pressures far outweigh the state revenue loss from the temporary tariff cuts.

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