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Tariff Reduction on Pork, Poultry Products Sought

by 5m Editor
17 August 2009, at 9:24am

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - An alliance of agriculture organizations have asked President Arroyo to defer the reduction of poultry and swine tariffs to 0 - 5 per cent in 2010 under the AFTA-CEPT (Asean Free Trade Agreement-Common Effective Preferential Tariff) agreement. The current tariffs of poultry and swine are 40 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

Alyansa Agrikultura is composed of federations and organizations representing all agricultural sectors.

In a 10 August letter to the president, the group proposed that the Philippine government adopt the original DA position taken last April that the government seek a 5-year suspension of full implementation of tariff cuts in 2010 under the AFTA-CEPT scheme.

Subsequently, the Alyansa was informed that this could not take place, reports ABS-CBN News.

The Alyansa commended the Philippine government for asking exemptions for the 0 to 5 per cent tariff imposition for rice and sugar, but requested that this Philippine position be expanded to include at least poultry and swine for exemption.

According to the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA), the farm gate price for live chicken in the Philippines is P66/kg, which is 41 per cent higher than Thailand ’s P48/kg.

The National Confederation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NCHFI), meanwhile, said that the farm gate price of swine in the Philippines is P85/kg, which is 38 per cent higher than Thailand's P60/kg.

"Though the current AFTA-CEPT rates of 40 per cent and 35 per cent for poultry and swine give adequate protection for these sectors, drastically and suddenly reducing these rates to 0 to 5 per cent less than five months from now would jeopardize the livelihoods of the poultry and swine producers at a time when jobs are scarce and poverty is increasing," Alyansa Agrikultura Chair Ernesto Ordonez said.

Statistics provided by Alyansa’s Salvador Umengan show that ASEAN countries export 2.4 million tons of chicken per year, and import 404,000 tons. For swine, AFTA countries export 570,000 tons and import 80,000 tons.

"The ASEAN exporters for poultry and swine are likely to target the Philippine market, because the new 0 to 5 per cent tariffs will render our poultry and swine producers at a great price disadvantage. The 0 to 5 per cent tariff rate is a good goal, but we need a deferment of its implementation to get the needed time to adjust to this challenge and save our farmers’ existing jobs," Mr Ordonez added.