Extension of lower agri tariffs backed
MANILA -The British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP) on Monday said it is backing the extension of lower import tariffs on major agricultural products, including pork, rice and corn.
In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel, BCCP executive director Chris Nelson said they have seen a substantial increase in the importation of British pork, which he said helped augment local supply that is still reeling from the outbreak of the swine flu.
“We strongly support that view and I think that it is also supported by other groups,” Nelson said, mentioning that the measure also helped ease the impact of the country’s high inflation environment.
The BCCP official added that they were planning to hold another trade mission in the Philippines by the end of the year, in an effort to strengthen trade ties between the two countries.
“That shows you that we are looking to build long-term relations with the importers and also support the Philippine market,” he added
President Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order no. 10 in late December last year, extending an even earlier issuance -Executive Order No. 171- which reduced import duty rates of fresh, chilled, or frozen pork, as well as of corn and rice.
The extension was set until December 31, 2023, with the Department of Finance (DOF) saying it was implemented to control inflation and ensure food security in the Philippines.
The DOF said they are also eyeing a review of the measure to assess if an extension was necessary and if it would still cover all the commodities that were stipulated under the latest issuance.
Other business groups in the Philippines have also called on the government to extend the measure, seeing its impact on lowering the prices of these goods.
The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) estimated that consumers were able to save on P108 billion due to reduced pork prices alone.
Likewise, the country’s largest business organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) also said they were “fully supportive” of extending the period of its implementation.