Private poultry sector presses gov’t to address import irregularities
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the private poultry sector have urged the government to address poultry import irregularities, especially issues surrounding Customs Bonded Warehouse (CBW).
They made the call amid the “dumping of cheap poultry imports” that they said affects small producers in the country.
In a series of meetings with newly appointed Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William D. Dar, the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) asked for imports in the poultry sector be systematically monitored as imports hit a record 310 million kilos in 2018.
“(In the past), DA has shown no institutional commitment to address unfair trade and smuggling. They can’t even present data on customs bonded importation,” said UBRA President Bong Inciong in a statement Monday.
“It is so obvious that there’s irresponsibility on the part of the government. When you say customs bonded warehouse, you’re supposed to (use imports for manufacturing input)and re-export, but DA has no data showing what is being re- exported.”
Further, Inciong questioned the agriculture department’s ability to develop the local poultry industry if they do not have data to monitor CBW imports.
UBRA explained that 30 percent of CBW imports could be distributed to local markets, but these should be paid with proper tariffs.
“But there’s no record showing they pay tariffs. Here is where we find it hard to look up to government. They have a mandate to develop local industries. How can you develop your industry if you don’t have data, how can you manage?” Inciong asked.
“They keep talking about competitiveness about addressing unfair trade, smuggling when they don’t even bother to organize data,” he added.
The agriculture department, Inciong added, does not adopt the globally recognized system of monitoring technical smuggling of goods, which entails comparing data from the country of origin of the import and the local import data recorded.
Absence of CBW monitoring record also applies to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and National Meat Inspection System (NMIS), UBRA said.
Subsidies for poultry raisers
Likewise, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc (PCAFI) President Danilo V. Fausto also urged the government to check systems being implemented in other countries — such as subsidies granted to farmers.
“Subsidies in one form or another have been the template for other countries with successful agricultural sectors. If we are to win the struggle for the future of agriculture, a more pragmatic approach as practiced by US and China should be the way forward,” said Fausto.
Inciong backed this, saying: “The mindset of government is more imports, more local players will be forced to be competitive. But the government is the one that’s not competitive because it doesn’t provide the sector the amount of subsidy other governments provide their agri sector.”