The Meat Importers & Traders Association (MITA) has urged the government to maintain a permanent tariff rate of just five percent on pork and poultry imports.
In a letter dated May 22, 2023, MITA president Sherwin Choi and president Emeritus Jesus Chua Cham called on National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Baliscan to support the proposal.
The request comes after the Duterte administration initially lowered tariffs on pork in May 2021 in response to the widespread impact of African swine fever (ASF) on the local sector. The move prompted major players like Robina Farms and Monterey to exit the hog growing business.
Alongside tariff reductions, President Bongbong Marcos Jr., who also serves as the agriculture secretary, extended the executive order that lowered in-quota pork tariffs to 15% and out-quota tariffs to 25% until December 31 this year.
ASF was first acknowledged by the Department of Agriculture in August 2019 and swiftly spread, causing significant losses to hog populations in key pork-producing provinces such as Bulacan and Pampanga.
MITA emphasized that the Philippines would require five years to recover from ASF, assuming containment or the discovery of a vaccine, neither of which has materialized thus far.
As the country enters its fourth year since the outbreak, the DA recently projected a pork shortage in the coming months, indicating that hog recovery efforts are not progressing satisfactorily.