The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) expresses its support for the extension of lowered tariffs for pork and other agricultural commodities until 2028, as approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan announced that Marcos, serving as the chair of the NEDA Board, has also ratified the newly established Comprehensive Tariff Program for the period 2024-2028 which seeks to minimize inflation and ensure the affordability of essential products.

“This tariff reduction will substantially ease the upward pressure on domestic prices,” Balisacan said.

Annual inflation accelerated for the third consecutive month in April as it reached 3.8%, and has continuously accelerated to 3.9% within the same month.

The Philippines also facing challenges relating to African Swine Fever and El Niño, the British Chamber emphasized the significance of imports to assist on inflation and supply while leveraging trade relations between the UK and the Philippines, with meat being the top 5 commodities being exported from the UK in the four quarters to the end of Q4 of 2023.

Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) President Jesus Cham stated, “Importers are likely positioning in anticipation of higher prices abroad, a weaker peso, as well as lower hog production due to El Niño. It is noteworthy that offal volume decreased, perhaps indicating greater attractiveness of pork meat at the current import duty rate.”

Despite the challenges facing the agricultural sector, the country’s pork imports amounted to 193,146 metric tons, marking an 18% increase compared to the 163,690 metric tons imported during the same period the previous year.

The British Chamber has previously welcomed the Senate’s ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act and looks forward to its quick passage. It also consistently works with the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and anticipates the increase in pork imports to continue widen business opportunities and trade relations between the UK and the Philippines.

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