Senators, economic team revise pork import tariffs, volume in compromise deal

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers and senators reached a compromise on pork import tariff rates, after the executive and legislative branches clashed over the impact of the controversial Executive Order (EO) No. 128.

They agreed to amend Duterte's EO, which earlier wanted to trim tariff rates on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) – or the number of allowable pork imports with low taxes – from the current 30% to 5% for the first 3 months, then 10% for the next 9 months.

Senators and the economic team on Wednesday, May 5, agreed to adjust the rates to 10% within MAV and 20% outside of MAV for the first 3 months; and 15% within MAV and 25% outside of MAV for the remaining 9 months.

Both also agreed that the MAV be reduced from 404,000 metric tons to 254,210 MT.

The economic team met with Senate President Vicente Sotto III 4 times to find a middle ground.

"Given that we have reached a compromise, we will act without delay to reflect the features of the compromise in a corresponding executive issuance," Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.  

Dar will submit the revised pork import tariffs to the National Economic and Development Authority Board, through Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua. The NEDA Board will in turn make the final recommendation to the Office of the President.

Lowering taxes of imported pork is a contentious issue, as senators and hog raisers argued that it would kill the local industry.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier alleged that the scheme would lead to further corruption during the worst health and economic crisis in recent history. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.