Saturday, May 19, 2012

Meat Importers Seek Tariff Freeze

MANILA, Philipines - The Alliance of Food Processors, Providers and Stakeholders (AFPPS) has formally asked Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to dump the new reference prices for imported meat. "Increases in the reference values of imported pork and poultry will indiscriminately penalize legal businesses and set free and unnoticed the smugglers who could continue with their illegal trade," the AFPPS told Purisima. Unilateral increases in the reference values, the group warned, would be "hazardous to investors who engage in lawful business and trade." "We request that your office suggest to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to defer the implementation of the order to apply the new reference prices until proper and due consultations have been undertaken for the sake of fair trade and the public interest," AFPPS stressed. "The new reference prices will cause a spiraling of food prices and undermine all efforts to achieve food security," the group insisted. On April 27, 2012, Alcala recommended to Purisima that the reference prices on imported pork and chicken parts be raised and this enraged AFPPS members who claimed that this was done "without public consultation with stakeholders who will be affected." Alcala recommended that for pork carcasses and half carcasses, Treesthe reference price should be $2.102 per kilo. For hams, shoulders and "cuts thereof with bone-in," the price set was $2.128 per kilo for others, $2.976 per kilo. For poultry, chicken leg quarters (LQ) were pegged at $1.238 per kilo, mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken at $0.953 per kilo and MDM of turkey at $0.699 per kilo. AFPPS said the R200-billion food processing industry has been operating for the past 50 years without any hitch but the increase in reference rates push prices from 27 percent and upwards, thus torpedoing its mission of "providing safe, wholesome and affordable food to our countrymen," AFPPS told Purisima.