Dar: Duterte EO lowering tariff rates for imported pork now in effect

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Agriculture Secretary William Dar (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) — Agriculture Secretary William Dar assured on Monday the "calibrated arrival" of pork imports, as he announced that President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order lowering tariff rates for the meat products is already in effect.

Dar told lawmakers at a joint House hearing that the Bureau of Animal Industry is already issuing import permits in accordance with Executive Order 128.

"The EO 128 is now in effect and that continues to be implemented by us," he said during the hearing of the House committees on agriculture and food, and trade and industry.

"We would like to assure that the calibrated arrival of said imports will be properly managed and hoping that, yes, our ultimate goal is really that the imports will lower the prices of pork in the market," Dar added.

EO 128, which was issued by Duterte last week, reduces tariff rates on pork imports to between five percent and 20 percent, from 30 percent to 40 percent.

Several lawmakers in the House and Senate have asked the president to withdraw the executive order, saying the deluge of pork imports will hurt local businessmen.

Dar, however, assured that the increase in pork imports will not kill the local hog industry.

Based on the National Economic Development Authority's estimates, the market price of pork will go down to around ₱215 to ₱222 pesos per kilo if the tariff rate on imported pork is slashed to between five percent and 10 percent.