PH’s pork imports for this year seen to go higher at 425,000 MT

Philippines’ pork imports for this year are still seen to go higher at 425,000 metric tons (MT), even despite the already 401 percent surge in pork imports the country recorded from January to April of this year.

This is following the release of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) guidelines that specified how the importation of an additional volume of 200,000 MT of pork under the tariff-rate quota or Minimum Access Volume (MAV) will be implemented.

In its latest report, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) here in Manila (Post) raised its pork import forecast for the Philippines to 425,000 MT, 21 percent higher than the USDA official forecast of 350,000 MT.

Post said this was “in response to market conditions”, including recently revised and improved market access for imports.

To recall, on June 26, DA released the guidelines for MAV or tariff-rate quota for pork for the importation of 200,000 MT, which was authorized via Executive Order (EO) 133. MAV refers to the volume of a specific agricultural product that is allowed to be imported with a lower tariff as committed by the Philippines to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Based on the guidelines, 140,000 MT, or up to 70 percent of the additional MAV, will be available from July to October, while the remaining 60,000 MT or 30 percent may only enter the country from November throughout January 2022.

This additional pork supply will be on top of the pork imports that have already entered the country so far for this year. From January to April, global pork exports to the Philippines already surged by 401 percent from 38,979 metric tons (MT) carcass weight equivalent (CWE) during the same period in 2020 to 195,300 MT, Trade Data Monitor shows.

For this year, the majority of the Philippines’ pork imports came from European Union, Canada, United States, Brazil, and United Kingdom.

Earlier this week, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that importers brought in 24.45 million kilograms (kg) of pork in April, another 36.5 million kg in May, and 15.14 million kg from June 1 to 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 to 11, while out-quota imports were 14 million kg in April, 26.03 million kg in May, and 12.36 million kg from June 1 to 11.

“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.

Issued in May, EO 134 amended EO 128 significantly lowering Most Favored Nation (MFN) rate tariffs for both in- and out-quota pork imports. EO 128 had first set tariffs at lower rates from April 9 until May 18, until EO 134 repealed EO 128 and raised tariffs by 5 percentage points.

Meanwhile, Post maintained its forecast Philippines’ pork production for the year at 1 million MT CWE in line with current data and discussions with industry contacts.

It said that African Swine Fever (ASF) remained a challenge to the Philippine hog sector, especially in the key producing provinces of Luzon, while also spreading to previously ASF-free areas of Visayas and Mindanao.

The latest report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) noted that the country’s total pork production declined by 25.8 percent to 295,000 MT CWE from January to March of this year from 398,000 MT CWE during the same period in 2020.