The Bureau of Customs has reported a spike in pork imports to 76 million kilograms from April to early June, following the issuance by President Rodrigo Duterte of a series of executive orders cutting tariffs on incoming swine meat shipments and increasing the allowable import volumes for a temporary period to help stabilize the domestic supply and prices of pork for the benefit of Filipino consumers.
In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said pork imports between April 9 and June 11 for both in-quota and out-quota shipments accounted for 69 percent of the total 110 million kg of swine meat brought into the country from January 1 to June 11.
EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to 5 percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months was in effect from April 7 to May 14.
EO 134, which superseded EO 128, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV to 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.
For imports outside the MAV, the tariffs are 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent in the succeeding nine months.
The one-year effectivity of EO 134 began on May 15, 2021.
EO 133, meanwhile, increased the MAV for pork imports in 2021 from 54,210 MT to 254,210 MT, provided that any unavailable balance at the end of 2021 shall not be carried over to 2022.
In his report during a recent Department of Finance executive committee meeting, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero 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 1-11.
The April 2021 shipments were 500 percent more than the April imports last year of 4.07 million kg, while those for May 2021 were 506-percent higher than the imports in the same month in 2020 of 6.02 million kg, Guerrero said.
In-quota, or within MAV shipments, amounted to 10.46 million kg in April, 10.47 million kg in May, and 2.78 million kg. from June 1-11, he said.
Out-quota imports were 14 million kg in April, 26.03 million kg in May, and 12.36 million kg from June 1-11, 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 expects 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, which have soared this year following a major supply shortage triggered by the outbreak of the Asian swine fever.
Citing estimates by 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.*PR