THE GOVERNMENT is considering a possible further extension of the validity period of an executive order (EO), which had reduced the Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on pork, corn, rice and coal, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.
“We will have a meeting in September to (see) if we have to extend,” Mr. Diokno said in a chat with reporters on Friday.
In December, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order No. 10, which extended the lower tariff rates on key commodities to address rising prices.
EO No. 10 kept the reduced tariff rates for imports of swine meat at 15% for shipments within the minimum access volume (MAV) quota and 25% for those exceeding the quota. The corresponding rates for corn were 5% (within the MAV quota) and 15% (exceeding the MAV quota), and rice 35% in both cases. The rates are in force until Dec. 31.
Coal also retained its zero-import duty beyond Dec. 31, provided that its rates are subject to review every half year after that date.
Finance Undersecretary Zeno Ronald R. Abenoja said that the Inter-Agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO) is also reviewing other commodities that could stoke inflation.
“The IAC-IMO has started reviewing all these items but given the recent developments, typhoons and also external developments, the review not only covers the four agricultural commodities under the EO but also other drivers of inflation we’ve seen in the past few months,” he said.
However, Mr. Abenoja noted that the extension of the reduced tariffs will only cover the four original farm commodities.
“The extension will cover just four but the IAC-IMO reviews both food and non-food sources of inflation. A comprehensive review is ongoing,” he added.
In March, the Tariff Commission began its comprehensive tariff review program (CTRP) of the MFN tariff schedule from 2024 to 2028.
The tariff review is conducted every five years as required by Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
It covers tariffs of agriculture and food products; chemicals and chemical products; textiles, paper and leather products; metal and non-metal products; and machinery and transport equipment.
Mr. Abenoja said that the Department of Finance is also participating in the CTRP review.
“If you look at the tariff structure, a lot of tariff rates have gone down quite dramatically. There are a few peaks related to certain commodities; that is being reviewed together with other private sector partners so we can prepare for any adjustments in this tariff structure, if any,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson