By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has signed an executive order (EO) extending the temporary modification of rates of import duty on various products including meat, corn and rice to maintain affordable prices and augment the supply of agricultural commodities in the country.
Under Executive Order (EO) No. 10, signed by the President on Dec. 29, 2022, the reduced Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on meat of swine (fresh, chilled or frozen) at 15 percent (in-quota) and 25 percent (out-quota); corn at 5 percent (in-quota) and 15 percent (out-quota); rice at 35 percent (in-quota and out-quota); and coal at zero duty, shall be extended until Dec. 31, 2023.
“There is a need to extend the effectivity of the reduced tariff rates on rice, maize (corn), coal, and meat of swine (fresh, chilled or frozen) to maintain affordable prices for the purpose of ensuring food security, help augment the supply of basic agricultural commodities in the country, reduce the cost of electricity, and diversify the country’s market sources,” the EO read.
Upon effectivity of the EO, all articles specifically listed, which are entered into or withdrawn from warehouses in the Philippines for consumption, will be levied the MFN rates of duty.
The tariff rates on coal will be subject to a semestral review after Dec. 31 this year.
For this purpose, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Committee on Tariff and Related Matters shall submit to the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, its findings and recommendations on the matter, including analysis and monitoring of the coal market.
The EO states that the current global economic situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other factors affecting the country’s traditional sources of rice, corn, coal, and fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine is causing uncertainty in the steady supply of said commodities.
It also cited how the high inflation caused by supply constraints, expected shortage in the global supply, and rise in international commodity prices is presenting economic and trade implications to the country and the Filipino people.
EO Nos. 134 and 135 temporarily modified the MFN rates of import duty on meat of swine (fresh chilled or frozen) until May 17, 2022 and rice until June 1, 2022.
EO No. 171, on the other hand, extended the effectivity of the reduced tariff rates under EO Nos. 134 and 135, and reduced the tariff rates on maize and coal until Dec. 31, 2022.
Section 1608 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act empowers the President to increase, reduce, or remove existing rates of import duty “in the interest of general welfare and national security.” (PNA)