Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. on Monday welcomed the issuance of Executive Order 123 that maintains the tariff on imported mechanically deboned meat of chicken and poultry at 5 percent.
MDM, a vital raw material used in the processing of low-priced canned goods, is a meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue.
PAMPI, the biggest group of meat processors in the country, said the EO was consistent with the government’s well-defined policy to promote the domestic manufacturing sector, generate employment, protect consumers and ensure economic growth.
The group, in supporting the retention of the 5-percent tariff on MDM, asked the government to assess minimum tariffs on imported raw materials used in manufacturing that are not locally available.
“MDM is not locally produced. It is a primary raw material in the production of processed meats such as hotdogs, sausages, canned meat products and similar items which provide the protein needs of our people at affordable prices,” said PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy Jr.
He said “canned products using MDM are among the “must’” items in relief food packs that are produced by PAMPI members and distributed by government agencies to our people during national emergencies arising from natural calamities or disease outbreaks.”
The retention of 5-percent tariff on MDM prevented any huge price increase in the processed and canned meat products, according to PAMPI.
The Department of Trade and Industry earlier reported that the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters, co-chaired by the DTI and the National Economic and Development Authority, recommended to keep the MDM tariff rates at 5 percent to avert any increase in production cost of mass-based canned and processed meat products.
“Keeping the tariff rates at 5 percent will keep the cost down for processed meat manufacturers and avert unwanted and untimely price increases in processed meat products,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“There is no need to increase the tariff to 40 percent because there are no local producers to protect. Since MDM is a main cost component in low-priced canned and processed meat products, any tariff increase will only lead to the inflation of cost and prices of most canned meat products that are also part of basic goods in our SRP,” he said.
The new EO amends EO 82, which prevents the tariff rate to reverting back to a high of 40 percent at the beginning of 2021 amid the lapse of the country’s quantitative restriction privileges and the eventual enactment of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Our priority has always been to protect the best interest of the consumers and promote their general welfare, especially at this time of the pandemic,” Lopez said.
“These products are what the majority of the Filipino consumers buy, and during these challenging times, we want to ensure that their access to these basic goods will not be affected by tariffs and price increases,” Lopez said.