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British Chamber: MAV suspension for pork imports to affect supply in Phl

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The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) remains concerned about the reported minimum access volume (MAV) suspension for pork imports last month–citing potential impacts on inflation and domestic food supply, which echoed the previously reported sentiments of meat importers and economists.

In an initial report last 07 February 2024, the Department of Agriculture was looking at the possibility of halting the issuance of minimum access volume import certificates (MAVIC), citing Agriculture Undersecretary Roger Navarro’s statement towards the agency’s goal of helping the local farmers. Meanwhile, MAV Advisory Council (MAC) also expressed concern about the plan as it would impact supply and go against existing trade agreements, particularly under World Trade Organization (WTO).

Recently, it was reported that there is a delay in the MAV quota distribution as per the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) which also emphasized their concern about removing quota volumes for imports as this would make the market “less competitive.”

Moreover, the British Chamber further reiterated that MAV suspension may undermine the recently signed Executive Order No. 50 (E.O 50), which warranted the extension of lowered tariffs for agricultural commodities including pork. With the British Chamber supporting its extension for two consecutive years, it reaffirmed its significance on managing inflation and ensuring food security in the country.

As directly stated in the Executive Order 50,

“Whereas, the present economic condition warrants the continued application of the reduced tariff rates on rice, corn, and meat of swine (fresh, chilled or frozen) to maintain affordable prices for the purpose of ensuring food security, managing inflationary pressures, help augment the supply of basic agricultural commodities in the country, and diversify the market’s resources;”

More so, in a recent report by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the inflation rate rose to 3.4% in February 2024 from 2.8% the previous month–recording its first upward trend after a consistent four month slow down. Thus, the British Chamber recalls its support for the full implementation of the Executive Order to help the government maintain its target of maintaining a 2-4% inflation rate which also aligns with the goal of the Department of Finance, coining its comprehensive plan called Reduce Emerging Inflation Now (REIN).

To also promote a competitive local market, the British Chamber reiterated its support towards the signing of the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act into law and looks forward to the bicameral conference of the Senate and the House of Representatives. With its passage, it will further protect the local agricultural sector and create a competitive market while effectively ensuring food security and easing down inflation rate in the country.

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