THE British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) said it supports a proposal to extend the low-tariff regime on pork imports.

At the BCCP’s Philippine-British Meat Trade Mission event on Wednesday, BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson told reporters that the chamber supports continuing with the current tariff arrangements.

“We would look for lowering of (the tariff). We think it benefits the consumer, we think it benefits the industries involved,” Mr. Nelson said.

“That has been a key factor in consideration of bringing down prices. We are hopeful that a new order will be implemented. And then of course, that will benefit the continuation of imports,” he added.

Executive Order (EO) No. 134, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on May 15 last year, temporarily lowered pork tariffs until May 17, 2022.

The order reduced the tariff of pork imports within the minimum access volume quota to 10% in the first three months and 15% in the next nine months. It also set tariffs for out-of-quota pork imports to 20% in the first three months and 25% in the next nine months.

The Economic Development Cluster has lobbied for an extension of EO 134 to address rising commodity prices and to temper inflation.

Separately, Mr. Nelson said the BCCP is seeking to establish a long-term relationship for the meat trade between the UK and the Philippines.

The trade mission is a partnership with the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. The mission runs until May 19.

“The overall target is long-term relationships. So, what we are trying to achieve here is that instead of pork and beef being (subject to) opportunity trading, what we are trying to do now is build up long-term relations,” Mr. Nelson said.

The trade mission consisted of nine British meat suppliers looking to explore opportunities in the Philippines — Red Tractor, ABP Food Group, Buitelaar Group, Dingley Dell Pork, Dunbia, Foyle Food Group, GPS Food Group Ltd., Norwest Foods International Ltd., and Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd.

“There has been a significant growth in imports of British pork. The fact that you have nine companies here is a testament to the interest,” Mr. Nelson said.

“These people will have business-to-business meetings and meet new customers. The overall aim to be a consistent and growing exporter of meat to the Philippines,” he added.

According to the Bureau of Animal Industry, UK meat exports to the Philippines in 2021 amounted to 35.16 million kilograms, making up 3% of Philippine meat imports, which total 1.17 billion kilograms. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave