The Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected 8.35 billion pula from rice import tariffs in the first five months of the year, up 14% from 7.32 billion pula at the same period in 2021 on higher import volumes.

BOC collections increased due to a 36.9% growth in import volumes from January 1 to May 31, which totaled 1.43 million metric tons (MT) of cereals against 1.04 million of MT last year, according to the Department of Finance (DOF) over the weekend.

(Keith Bacongco/Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The BOC, in a report to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said it was able to maintain its tariff collections on rice imports despite the continued decline in the average value of rice on the world market, which has fell 16.3% to 16,712 pesos per ton at the end. -May from P19,977 per MT at the same time last year.

BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco also told the DOF at a recent executive committee meeting that “for the period May 1-31, 2022, the volume of rice imports increased by 18, 8% to 290,979 MT from 245,033 MT last year, and revenue increased by 3.2% to 1.7 billion pesos from 1.65 billion pesos last year.”

Under Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Pricing Act (RTL) enacted in 2019, customs duties collected on imports of rice are paid into the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). ). Collections exceeding the fund of 10 billion pesos go to the financial assistance to rice farmers (RFFA).

Dy Buco, at the same execom meeting, also pointed to pork import duties. Since April 2021, when Malacanang cut tariffs and increased allowed import volumes on pork, he said BOC had collected P5.8 billion in duties by the end of May this year, out of a total volume of 353 million kilograms (kg).

Dy Buco indicated that of this volume, 125 million kg were processed from January 1 to May 31. This figure was 32% higher than the 2021 94.93 million kg.

However, the BOC official also said that from April 9, 2021 to May 31 this year, it also lost around 5.2 billion pesos in expected import duties on pork shipments.

This was the result of President Duterte issuing Executive Orders (EOs) which took effect from April 7, 2021, lowering pork import tariffs and increasing allowable import volumes of meat. “These guidelines were intended to help control inflation by increasing the supply of pork and stabilizing its retail prices in the domestic market after the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) adversely affected domestic pork production” , said the DOF.

EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to 5% in its Minimum Access Volume (MAV) and 15% outside of MAV for the first three months, came into effect from April 7 to May 14, 2021.

Meanwhile, EO 134, which replaced EO 128 and came into force on May 17 last year, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV at 10% for the three first months and 15% during the following nine months. For imports outside the MAV, tariff rates were set at 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent for the following nine months, the DOF said.