Do not focus on delivery solution, not on tariff reductions »Manila Bulletin Business


By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

  Ramon M. Lopez

Ramon M. Lopez

Realizes that rates of most raw materials are already at the minimum level, the tariffs and related affairs committee of the multinational agency has proposed supply interventions to minimize the impact of inflation and reduce the prices of agricultural products rather than further tariff reductions.

Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, chairman of CTRM, said they agreed to focus on supply-oriented actions and volume improvements that would have an immediate impact at their recent meeting.

At the CTRM meeting on August 15, Lopez reported that August 15, CTRM Meeting concluded that the reduction in the most favored nation (MFN) will not significantly reduce prices, as agricultural products are already involved with FTA partners with lower preferential tariffs.

Potential solutions to reduce inflation and the results of the public hearing on the proposed rate change on meat, edible offal, fish, edible vegetables, feed wheat and maize were discussed.

This was developed after the rates committee reported that changing the tariffs will not have a significant impact on the prices of agricultural products because many of these already have a relatively lower tariff basis, or lower costs than the local prices would have caused.

"After consultation with various stakeholders, also because the current status of the tariffs is so low, there is minimal movement if we bring the tariff to 5%, so this would not be the solution," Lopez said.

"We need to concentrate our efforts on finding realistic and practical solutions to lower prices while keeping the interests of both consumers and producers in balance", Sec. Lopez added.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Agriculture had issued a certificate of necessity that allowed a maximum of 17,000 tons of galunggong to be imported by accredited fish importers. The items are only unloaded at Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) – branded cold storage facilities and will be sold in Navotas Fishport.

This is part of the government-imposed measures to moderate inflation.

"We are also amending the Fisheries Civil Service No. 195 to allow the sale of imported fish on wet markets," said Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

DA also requested the Customs Office to temporarily suspend the imposition of special safeguard measures for imports of poultry meat.

In the case of pig deliveries, it was reported that holders of MAV certificates use only 50 percent of their allocations. Piñol has asked MAV certificate holders to make use of their allocations, otherwise they can be canceled and re-punished.

DTI and DA will also regularly inspect the department stores of commodity importers to determine the stock level. Likewise, the arrival and distribution of NFA rice imports will be checked.

The CTRM meeting was attended by the departments of Finance (DOF), Budget and Management (DBM), Foreign Affairs (DFA), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Agricultural Reform (DAR) and transport (DOTr). Representatives from the Office of the Executive Secretary, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Tariff Commission, Board of Investments (BOI), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) were also present. (BCM)

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