British Chamber Backs Extension of Reduced Pork Tariffs to 2028 to Aid Inflation, Food Security

The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) has voiced its support for the extension of lowered tariffs for pork and other agricultural commodities until 2028, as approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan announced that Marcos, serving as the chair of the NEDA Board, has also ratified the newly established Comprehensive Tariff Program for the period 2024-2028 which aims to minimize inflation and ensure the affordability of essential products.

“This tariff reduction will substantially ease the upward pressure on domestic prices,” Balisacan said.

Annual inflation accelerated for the third consecutive month in April as it reached 3.8%, and has continuously accelerated to 3.9% within the same month.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by African Swine Fever and El Niño, the British Chamber emphasized the importance of imports in addressing inflation and supply issues while enhancing trade relations between the UK and the Philippines. Meat has been one of the top 5 commodities exported from the UK in the four quarters leading up to the end of Q4 of 2023.

President of the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), Jesus Cham, stated, “Importers are likely positioning in anticipation of higher prices abroad, a weaker peso, as well as lower hog production due to El Niño. It is noteworthy that offal volume decreased, perhaps indicating greater attractiveness of pork meat at the current import duty rate.”

Despite the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, the country’s pork imports totaled 193,146 metric tons, marking an 18% increase compared to the 163,690 metric tons imported during the same period the previous year.

The British Chamber had previously welcomed the Senate’s ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act and looks forward to its swift enactment. The Chamber also collaborates with the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and anticipates a further increase in pork imports to enhance business opportunities and trade relations between the UK and the Philippines.

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