AUGUST 8, 2018-ECONOMIC MANAGERS PITCH 5% TARIFF ON 4 ITEMS (FISH, CORN, VEGETABLES AND MEAT-PARTICULARLY CHICKEN AND WHEAT IMPORTS)
THE economic managers have formally recommended to the President the reduction to 5 percent of the tariffs on fish, corn and meat, particularly chicken, and wheat imports, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said on Wednesday. Diokno said, however, what they proposed was a “uniform” reduction to 5 percent of tariffs on these food items, not zero, noting that the tariff reduction can be done through an executive order by the President when Congress is not in session. As for the specific food items that will be affected by the proposed tariff reduction, Diokno said the economic managers are still studying it. He also did not say directly if they recommended a specific period for the imposition of tariff reduction, but added it could be for a couple of months or it could be “permanent.” Fish imports in the country are levied a duty of 3 percent to 10 percent. A 35-percent tariff is slapped on corn imports within the minimum access volume, while those outside the quota are levied with 50-percent duty. Both feed-wheat imports and wheat-flour imports are subject to a 7-percent duty, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report. The Gain report noted that feed-wheat imports are exempted from the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT). Milling and feed-wheat imports from signatories to the Asean-Australia-New Zealand free-trade agreement are duty-free. On the other hand, milling-wheat imports are exempt from tariffs, but are subject to a 12-percent VAT on the subsequent flour sales, payable at the time the wheat was imported, according to the Gain report. Meanwhile, tariffs imposed by the Philippines on meat products range from 10 to 40 percent.