Philippines reduces pork tariff to make up shortfall

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reduced the Southeast Asian country’s pork import tariffs on Wednesday as the government addresses a domestic shortage by ramping up purchases from abroad, Reuters has reported.

President Duterte said in an executive order: “There is an urgent need to temporarily reduce the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates on fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine to address the existing pork supply shortage, stabilise prices of pork meat, and minimise inflation rates.”

Before the pandemic, the country was the world’s seventh-biggest pork importer before local demand. Plans have now been reported that it will import roughly 400,000 tonnes of pork this year, more than double the 162,000 tonnes planned earlier.

The order cuts the tariff for pork imports during the first three months it is effective to 5% from 30% currently, and to 10% during April to December. The tariff for pork imports outside the quota scheme will drop to 15% during the first three months from 40% currently, and to 20% for the remainder of the year.

Philippine pork production is estimated to have dropped 20% last year following outbreaks of African Swine Fever which resulted in the culling of more than 300,000 pigs – 3% of the hog population.

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