SINAG urges gov’t to raise tariff on pork imports to 44%

Published March 23, 2021, 3:50 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) wrote to Tariff Commission Chairperson Marilou Mendoza to raise the tariff on HS 0203 meat of swine (fresh, chilled, or frozen) to 44 percent.

The formal proposal was also forwarded to Senator Cynthia Villar, who also serves as chairperson of the senate committee on agriculture, as well as to Representative Joey Salceda, who is chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means.


In the proposal, a copy of which was provided to the media on Tuesday, SINAG pointed out that importers are raking profits at the current tariff rate with no corresponding reflection on the retail price of prime porkcuts.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) record of the declared price (landed cost) of HS 0203 is averaging at P81 per kilogram (/kg) from January 2020 to January 2021.

However, when the retail price of local pork spiked due to tightness in supply, imported pork was also being sold between P350 to 450/kg as late as January to February this year.

“Importers claim that they are not violating any law and are just following the retail price of pork. Importers are easily profiting between P200 to 250/kg at the current retail of P350 to 400/kg of HS 0203 (pork belly, kasim),” SINAG Chairperson Rosendo So said.

SINAG’s proposal is in contrast with the pending proposals of the Department of Agriculture (DA), which is actually pushing for a tariff rate cut for imported pork in hopes to bring in more pork to the country in order to bring down the cost of meat prices.

To recall, the supply of pork has been on a downtrend since early this year amid the tightness in pork supply which is caused by the rising cases of African Swine Fever (ASF), a fatal animal disease among hogs, in the country. 

This has resulted in the continuous increase in the price of pork as well as other meat products in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

In particular, DA wants to temporarily bring down pork import tariff from 40 percent up to 15 percent.

For pork imports under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV), the DA wants to bring the tariff from the current 30 percent up to 5 percent.

DA also wants to increase MAV allocation on pork imports from the current 54,000 MT to 404,210 MT.

However, Senator Francis Pangilinan said the other day that the government will lose about P11 billion in tariff revenue should the pork tariffs be reduced from 30 percent to 5 percent.

Pangilinan said this means the source of financial support for the domestic hog-raisers will also be reduced.

So, for his part, told the Tariff Commission that increase pork import tariff will instead increase government revenues, which can be used to support the government’s “Build, build, build and social services programs”.

“Reducing tariffs will deprive government of much needed revenues. Revenues that would support the Covid-19 vaccination program and efforts to help the livestock industry recover from the ASF pandemic,” he added.

DA’s proposal for the declaration of the national state of emergency due to ASF has already been sent to the Office of the President and awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature. 

This is in hopes to get access to more public funds to address the ASF pandemic.