Revival of pre-shipment inspection proposed to curb agri goods smuggling | Inquirer Business

Revival of pre-shipment inspection proposed to curb agri goods smuggling

MANILA  -The Marcos administration is urged to reinstate pre-shipment and discharge port inspection systems to put an end to the proliferation of smuggled agricultural goods across the archipelago.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) made the appeal to reintroduce these systems to stop large-scale agricultural smuggling, curb price manipulation and ensure the safety of food imports.

The FFF also recommended the enactment of a law or issuance of an executive order to form an Inspectorate and Enforcement Service that run after alleged violators of the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 and the Food Safety Act of 2013.


Moreover, the FFF proposed the immediate amendment of the implementing rules and regulations of RA No. 10845 to lodge file complaints against suspected agricultural smugglers in court. Under the existing law, large-scale agricultural smuggling refers to shipments worth at least P1 million for most farm products and a minimum of P10 million for rice.


A reputable pre-shipment inspection company “can be very helpful in addressing the persistent undervaluation and misdeclaration of agricultural imports, which are resulting in tens – if not hundreds – of billions of lost customs collections every year,” said FFF chair Leonardo Montemayor.

Montemayor, a former agriculture secretary, said the smuggling of farm and fisheries products has grown by “leaps and bounds” since the discontinuation of the monitoring system.

“This has caused tremendous financial losses to government and the agricultural sector, and has compromised the health and safety of consumers,” he added.

The FFF made the pronouncement as President Marcos, concurrently the country’s agriculture secretary, recently requested a cost-benefit analysis of hiring a global provider of pre-shipment inspection services such as Swiss firm Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS).

SGS had previously rendered such services to the government until 2000. These functions reverted to the Bureau of Customs afterwards. Last month, local authorities confiscated smuggled products totaling P1.5 million following a raid of the Icy Point Cold Storage Processing Corp. in Navotas.

It also apprehended three storage personnel. During the joint raid operation, the authorities seized 99 boxes of golden pompano, 114 boxes of frozen Pangasius fillet, 33 boxes of deep sea golden pomfret, 144 boxes of frozen round scad, 133 boxes of salmon head, 22 boxes of salmon belly and 14 boxes of whole salmon.

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TAGS: Agriculture, FFF, Import, Smuggling

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