THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) has started implementing adjusted tariffs for pork imports after the government approved temporary changes to the rate structures in a bid to boost supply and temper rising prices.

The new rates were implemented via Customs Memorandum Circular No. 102-2021 dated May 18, a copy of which was published Friday, ordering ports and collection districts to implement Executive Order (EO) No. 134.

“All concerned are informed that all articles which entered into or withdrawn from warehouses in the Philippines for consumption, shall be levied the temporary MFN (most-favored nation) rates of duty as prescribed therein,” according to the circular.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued EO 134 on May 15, adjusting the tariff rates for pork products to 10% for three months if shipments are within the minimum access volume (MAV) quota and 20% for those beyond the quota. The tariffs will reset to 15% for in-quota and 25% for out-of-quota pork imports in the succeeding nine months.

The MAV for pork imports has also been increased to 254,210 metric tons (MT) from the previous 54,210 MT.

The BoC said the new rates will be reflected in its electronic to mobile system.

The rates were adjusted after economic managers and legislators compromised from a more drastic set of reductions in consideration of the potential impact on the hog industry.

The pork supply is under pressure from the outbreak of African Swine Fever, which has depleted the hog inventory and squeezed the supply of fresh pork. The resulting high prices are deemed a major driver of inflation. — Beatrice M. Laforga