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International Egg and Poultry Review: Philippines

by 5m Editor
6 July 2011, at 6:29am

PHILIPPINES - This is a weekly report by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry. This week's looks at the poultry situation at the new regulations on retail sales of frozen meat in the Philippines.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) issued an Administrative Order (A.O. 22) in November 2010 that imposed new technical requirements on retail sales of frozen and chilled meat and meat products in the meat markets. The regulation imposes new packaging, labelling, inspection, traceability and cold chain requirements that trade sources say create one of the strictest regimens in Asia. The regulation does not apply to meat sold in restaurants or for processing. The complete text of AO 22 is available online [click here].

Several governments and industry organisations have expressed concern to the Philippine Government over its failure to notify the World Trade Organization (WTO) for comment prior to implementation of AO 22. The measure appears to be trade restrictive and seems to discriminate against imported meat which is chilled or frozen, compared to domestic fresh meat, and is not in line with international standards on hygienic conditions.

The local trade raised four main objections to the Order: lack of timely notification and opportunity to comment; lack of physical and administrative capacity to comply with the order; the failure of the Order to apply to fresh 'warm' meat; and the means of enforcement. The trade also asserts that AO 22 unfairly targets imports since it only applies to frozen meat and meat products, and not to 'warm' meat. Nearly all imported meat is frozen; the vast majority of locally produced meat is never chilled between slaughter and market.

Importers have noted severe infrastructure barriers to complying with the Order. Freezers are almost non-existent in outdoor 'wet' markets and are beyond the means of most small vendors. Many of the meat stalls do not even have access to electricity. There are also well established importers and distributors who do not have the newly required temperature controlled thawing rooms and refrigerated trucks. Most retailers and/or distributors had to urgently source and stock new packaging materials.

While DA officials claim the objective of A.O. 22 is to improve food safety standards, numerous sources assert that the DA regulation is a response to calls from hog and poultry producers for trade restrictions and import bans in the wake of record pork (up 56 per cent) and poultry meat (up 52 per cent) imports in 2010.

The US, EU, and Canada, which supply over 97 per cent of pork and over 70 per cent of poultry imports, continue to encourage the Philippine Government to suspend the Order and to notify the WTO for comment, as per standard international practice. Some governments have questioned why 'warm' meat has been excluded from the packaging and cold chain requirements of AO 22. In May, the DA released draft of a broader Administrative Order to cover freshly slaughtered, chilled, frozen and thawed meat in meat markets, but with significantly different standards for each.

Many analysts believe it was the recent entry of cheaper imported pork products in the wet markets that spurred recent protests from hog producers, and was one of the driving forces behind A.O. 22. While the regulation applies to all frozen meat, government officials have focused attention and comments almost exclusively on the lack of cold chain facilities in the wet market. While most supermarkets could meet the new temperature requirements, the trade has raised concerns over the potential impact of A.O. 22's provisions on packaging, labelling, inspection, and traceability for all retail meats, including beef.
Source: USDA GAIN Report; Philippine DA; news wires






*chicken leg quarters
/1 Chicken meat sub-total, i.e. leg quarters, cuts, whole and offal – under TRQ
/2 Others sub-total, i.e., MDM, fats and rinds/skin for meat processing – not under TRQ
Note: in 2007 the Philippine Government lowered the tariffs on chicken MDM to five per cent and made it exempt from MAV/TRQ. This resulted in a rapid increase in MDM imports and allowed more high-value poultry products, i.e. chicken leg quarters and other chicken cuts, to enter under the TRQ.



H.S. codes 0207140090; 0207140010; 0207140025; 1602320035
Source: Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.