To cushion the impact of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia on domestic food prices and supplies, President Duterte extended tariffs on pork and rice until the end of the year. The president also lowered corn tariffs to 5% and coal tariffs to zero until the end of the year.

Duterte signed the 2022 Executive Order (EO) 171 series on May 21 that maintained lower tariff rates on pork and rice and reduced tariffs on imported corn and coal. The EO, however, was only uploaded to the Official Gazette website on May 26.

Duterte’s signing of the EO came days before his authority to change tariff rates expires since Congress reconvened on May 23. The President can only change tariff rates when Congress is not in session.

In the EO, Duterte noted that the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has pushed “world prices” for various commodities, including corn, to “multi-year highs.”

He added that the increase in the prices of petroleum products, corn and fertilizers “generated a corresponding sharp increase in the domestic prices of raw materials and energy”, which led to “upward pressures” on the country’s inflation.

“It is necessary to temporarily maintain the reduced tariffs on imported rice and pork products to achieve the objectives of EO Nos 134 and 135, capitalize on the gains already made by these measures, with the aim of increasing the supply of these products in the country, diversifying the country’s market sources and maintaining affordable prices, in order to ensure food security,” he said.

Duterte explained that he had also reduced tariffs on imported corn and coal “to mitigate and stabilize the effects of inflationary pressures” caused by the Ukraine-Russia crisis. He noted that lowering tariff rates on these two products would allow the country to expand its sources of supply and reduce the prices of key commodities.

Under EO 171, in-quota tariff rates on imported pork will remain at 15% while out-of-quota tariff rates would be 25%. The uniform tariff of 35 percent on imported rice will remain in effect until the end of the year.

For maize, imports under minimum access volume (MAV) or quota will be subject to a 5% duty rate, while over-quota volume will be levied with a 15% duty rate. Imported coal products will be subject to zero duty rates for the duration of EO 171.

The BusinessMirror reported last month that the Committee on Tariffs and Related Issues had recommended to Duterte the reduction of tariff rates on corn and the extension of current tariffs on pork and rice to mitigate the impact of the global economic challenges on domestic food prices. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/04/25/govt-turns-to-tariff-tweaks-vs-inflation/)

The Philippine Meat Processors Association (PAMPI) has previously noted that the return to higher tariff rates on imported pork could have an inflationary effect as the country is still reeling from lower pork supply and high retail meat prices due to the aftermath of African Swine Fever (ASF) devastation of local pig farms. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/05/18/meat-processors-seekeo-to-keep-importedpork-tariffs-at-low-rates/)