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NEWS UPDATES 30 August 2009

Philippine farmers seek Asean tariff cut delay

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Instead of cutting imported pork and chicken taxes by next year, the government should delay the tariff reduction to 2015, an online newspaper quoted a Filipino farmers group as saying.

Deferring the tax scheme would give local poultry and swine producers “the needed time to adjust to this challenge and save our farmers’ existing jobs," said Ernesto Ordoñez, chairman of Alyansa Agrikultura, a farmers federation.

Under the Asean Free Trade Area-Common Effective Preferential Tariff (AFTA-CEPT) scheme that was approved by the Philippines, tariffs on imported poultry and livestock would be reduced to zero to five percent from the current 40 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Asian pork and chicken exporters would definitely enter the Philippine market, putting Filipino hog and poultry producers at a disadvantage, the group said.

Current farm gate prices for live chicken is 66 peso per kilo ($1=48.9 peso), 41 percent higher than Thailand’s 48 peso per kilo. Similarly, local farm gate pork costs 85 peso, 38 percent higher than Thailand’s 60 peso per kilo.

Member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) export 2.4 million tons of chicken per year and import 404,000 tons. For swine, AFTA countries export 570,000 tons and import 80,000 tons, statistics provided by the group said.


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