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BCCP raises concerns over plans to curb meat imports

BCCP raises concerns over plans to curb meat imports
A vendor arranges meat up for sale at Paco Public Market in Manila on February 1, 2024. (STAR / Edd Gumban) 

MANILA, Philippines — The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) expressed concerns on the agriculture department’s plan to temporarily suspend the minimum access volume (MAV) on corn and pork.

“We are concerned about the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s reported plan on the suspension of minimum access volume (MAV) for pork and we support the reported comments of MAV Advisory Council (MAC) on the impact on domestic supply and existing trade agreements,” the BCCP said in a statement.

BCCP issued the statement after The STAR broke the story that the Department of Agriculture is looking at curbing the country’s agricultural imports by temporarily suspending the entry of imports of pork and corn within the MAV mechanism.

The BCCP reiterated its support for the full implementation of President Marcos’ Executive Order 50 that extended lower tariff rates on key commodities, including pork and corn.

“We reiterate our support for the EO 50, s. 2023 and its full implementation to manage inflation and food supply,” the chamber said while noting that it has supported the previous extensions of lower tariffs on pork.

EO 50 extended lower tariff rates for both in-quota (within the MAV) and out-quota (outside the MAV) imports of rice, pork and corn.

The BCCP said that it is committed to helping the country in ensuring its food security and combating inflation by exporting “quality British meat.”

“We hereby acknowledge the role of agriculture in the Philippine economic growth and we look forward to the Bicameral Conference and therefore, the passage of the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act,” it said.

The MAC has endorsed a status quo on the country’s MAV this year and argued that suspending pork MAV, for example, could impact the domestic supply of the meat product.

Changing the MAV rules unilaterally would also risk certain trade agreements, including bilateral ones, MAC added.

However, the MAC’s position on the issue is only recommendatory since the MAV Management Committee, chaired by the agriculture chief and composed of other Cabinet secretaries, has the final say on MAV matters.

The country’s pork MAV stands at 54,210 metric tons, while corn MAV is at 216,940 MT.

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas

Credit belongs to: www.philstar.com

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