THE Department of Agriculture said it will not for now cancel import permits held by poultry and pork industry stakeholders with Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocations.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the MAV Secretariat informed the DA that it can only decide by Dec. 15 to cut the MAV allocation or bar such imports starting next year.
“The reason we gave this allocation is that we want to stabilize the supply in the market,” he added.
“With the ‘-ber’ months are approaching, this is the time of the year when there is high demand for chicken [and] pork. What we want to happen now is that prices should stabilize.”
Under World Trade Organization rules, the MAV allows a certain volume of imports of an agricultural commodity at a lower tariff rate.
The DA has said that 41% of MAV allocations for pork were left unused while 43.11% was unused for poultry. Mr. Piñol said that importers could be waiting for the holidays to import to take advantage of higher prices.
In a phone interview, National Meat Inspection Service Meat Import/Export Division chief Jocelyn A. Salvador said that poultry and hog importers should have brought in at least 70% of their MAV allocation to avoid being penalized.
Ms. Salvador added that those who did not import the minimum level will have 50% of their allocation reduced on first offense and 75% on second offense. A third offense will mean cancellation of import permits.
The DA could also cancel import permits of garlic and onion traders who did not fully utilize their allocations.
Mr. Piñol is set to met with garlic and onion traders on Thursday to discuss the utilization of the traders’ MAV allocations after the DA noted increasing prices for both commodities.
“What will happen is I’ll tell the onion traders that if they do not lower the price, I will cancel their import permits and I will have PITC (Philippine Importation Trading Corp.) import instead,” Mr. Piñol said. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato