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Dealers Want Tariff on Imported Pork Offal to Stay

29 December 2010

PHILIPPINES - Meat dealers and importers want the Department of Agriculture to keep the five per cent tariff on imported pork offal, as raising it may place poor Filipinos at a disadvantage.

"If you increase the tariff on pork offal, dalawa ang tataaman. One is the consumers who directly consume offal and second, the meat processors because they use (pork) skin and fat for processing into canned meat goods," Jesus Cham, president of Meat Importers and Traders Association, told reporters in an interview

“These processed food products are cheap protein sources for the poor," he said.

The poor consume processed pork offal — lips, cheek, liver, skin and head — as substitute for fresh pork and chicken, and increasing the tariff on imported offal would subsequently increase the prices of processed food products, according to the association.

Filipinos who subsist on $1 a day would be hit the hardest if pork offal becomes more expensive, as they cannot afford fresh pork and chicken priced at P180 ($4) per kilo and P130 ($3.25) a kilo, respectively, Mr Cham noted.

"Pork offal is about $1 a kilo. For poor Filipinos who live on $1 a day, the prices of fresh pork estimated at around $4 a kilo and chicken at $3 a kilo are simply beyond their reach," he said.

Hog raisers had earlier complained the higher volume of imported pork offal competes with locally produced pork, according to GMA News.tv.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) data showed imported pork offal totaled 48,450 metric tons (MT) as of 18 November, compared to the 29,000 MT shipped to the country for the whole of 2009.

United States and Canada — where pork by-products are treated as waste — are the Philippines’ main sources of imported pork offal.

Pork liver, cheeks, and ears are used in sisig, a popular Filipino dish. Skewered grilled ears and skin are also a popular street food.

There is no limit to the volume of offal shipments to the Philippines.

"The Philippines joined the [World Trade Organization] 15 years ago. Since then, we have opened our market to the world. Importers and exporters of other countries have been able to introduce more products in the market place but our local producers have stood still," said Mr Cham.

In November, the Agriculture Department announced the possibility of increasing the 5-per cent duty on imported pork offal as hog raisers said it was starting to harm the industry.

ThePigSite News Desk



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