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Philippine Pork Import Plan Won't Soften Local Prices

by 5m Editor
1 April 2004, at 12:00am

PHILIPPINE - The Philippines' plan to import 5,000 metric tons of pork at a lower duty of 10% won't be enough to lower high prices of pork products in the domestic market, a meat processing industry official said Wednesday.

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Francisco Buencamino, executive director of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc., said the import plan should be scrapped entirely as it would be ineffective in addressing the shortage of pork.

"The volume isn't enough to affect the market and the process by which the importation is being handled is rather slow. By the time the imports arrive, the crisis would have been over," Buencamino told Dow Jones Newswires.

An import volume of no less than 12,000-18,000 tons should be allowed to effectively address the shortfall in pork supplies and soften prices.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo early this week signed Executive Order 299, reducing to 10% from 30% the import tariff on pork products. The order covers an initial volume of 5,000 tons, with standby authority to import another 5,000 tons if the need arises.

The tariff reduction is intended to address high prices of local pork following a surge in demand due to the recent bird flu scare, which damped consumer buying of chicken meat products.

Pork prices surged to as much as 150-160 pesos last month ($1=PHP56.30) a kilogram from a price range of PHP120 to PHP130/kg at the start of the year.

The initial volume of 5,000 tons will form part of the country's minimum access volume, or MAV, for pork set for this year around 50,000 tons.

The MAV is the least volume of sensitive agriculture products that the country has committed to bring in at preferential tariff duty.

The MAV duty for pork has been set at 30% while imports outside of MAV are given a higher duty of 40%.

Source: eFeedLink - 31st March 2004

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