BOC collects P8.35-B rice import duties

Published June 26, 2022, 8:10 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P8.35 billion from rice import tariffs in the first five months of the year, up by 14 percent as against P7.32 billion same period in 2021 on higher import volumes.

BOC collections increased because of a 36.9 percent growth in import volumes from January 1 to May 31, which totaled 1.43 million metric tons (MT) of grain versus 1.04 million MT last year, according to the Department of Finance (DOF) over the weekend.

(Keith Bacongco / Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The BOC in a report to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said it was able to sustain its rice import tariff collections despite the continued decline in the average value of rice in the world market which dropped by 16.3 percent to P16,712 per MT as of end-May from P19,977 per MT same period last year.

BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco also told the DOF during a recent Executive Committee meeting that “for the period May 1-31, 2022, the volume of rice imports increased by 18.8 percent to 290,979 MT from 245,033 MT last year, and revenue grew by 3.2 percent to P1.7 billion from P1.65 billion last year.”

Under Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) which was enacted in 2019, tariffs collected from rice imports go to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). Collections in excess of the P10 billion fund go to the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA).

Dy Buco in the same execom meeting also reported import duties from pork. Since April 2021, when Malacanang reduced the tariffs and increased the allowable import volumes on pork, he said the BOC collected P5.8 billion in duties as of end-May this year, from a total volume of 353 million kilograms (kg).

Dy Buco reported that out of this volume, 125 million kg were processed from Jan. 1 to May 31. This was higher by 32 percent from the 94.93 million kg in 2021.

However, the BOC official also said that from April 9, 2021 to May 31 this year, it lost an estimated P5.2 billion in expected import duties from pork shipments as well.

This was a result of the issuance by President Duterte of executive orders (EOs) that took effect starting April 7, 2021 lowering pork import tariffs and increasing the allowable import volumes of the meat. “These directives were meant to help check inflation by boosting the supply of pork and stabilizing its retail prices in the domestic market after the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) had hurt domestic hog production,” said the DOF.

EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to five percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months, took effect from April 7 to May 14, 2021.

Meanwhile, EO 134, which superseded EO 128 and took effect on May 17 last year, 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 tariff rates were set at 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent for the succeeding nine months, said the DOF.