Philippines: Meat imports down 11% in January

MANILA, Philippines — The country imported more chicken meat in January, but overall meat importation was lower year-on-year, based on the latest Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) data.

The BAI data showed the country imported 76.52 million kilos of meat and meat products last month,  10.8 percent lower versus the 85.82 million kilos shipped in the same month last year.

Chicken was the top major imported meat for the period, accounting for 39.6 percent of the total.

The BAI data showed chicken imports reached 30.34 million kilos, up by 6.81 percent from 28.4 million kilos shipped in the same month last year.

Deboned chicken meat was the top imported product at 13.88 million kilos, followed by chicken leg quarters at 9.46 million kilos.

President Marcos signed Executive Order (EO) 13, extending the low, five-percent tariff rate on mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken and turkey for another two years, which was both welcomed by meat importers and slammed by local producers.

According to the EO, there is a need to maintain the reduced tariff rates on MDM of chicken and turkey “to ensure continued supply of essential food products at affordable prices, diversify the country’s market sources, and help businesses recover and sustain their operations.”

The top two sources of chicken meat were Brazil (16.38 million kilos) and the United States (11.23 million kilos).

Pork imports accounted for more than a third of the total, or 39.6 percent, at 30.28 million kilos, 27.8 percent lower than the 41.98 million kilos shipped in the previous year.

On Dec. 29 2022, the President signed EO 10, which allows importers to enjoy 15 percent in-quota and 25 percent out quota tariff rates for pork, reduced tariff of 35 percent on imported rice, five percent in-quota tariffs on corn, and zero tariff on coal until Dec. 31, 2023.

Pork offals – or internal organs – accounted for highest imports of pork products with 13.46 million kilos followed by pork cuts with 9.01 million kilos.

Sen. Cynthia Villar called for a review on the existing tariff structure of meat and edible offals amid the rising case of smuggling good meat as offals due to the former’s lower tariff rate.

To prevent smuggling, meat importers are pushing to lower the tariff on all imported meat, but local producers pleaded to raise the tariff rates on offals instead as the Tariff Commission (TC) investigates existing tariff structure of both commodities.