BOC collects P8.35-B from rice import duties in 1st 5 months of 202

Collections from rice import tariffs of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) grew 14 percent to P8.35 billion in the first five months of 2022 from P7.32 billion during the same period last year owing to a 37-percent rise in import volumes.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said collections from rice import duties from January 1 to May 31, 2022 came from 1.43 million metric tons (MT) of the grain, which is 36.9 percent more compared to the 1.04-million MT shipped in during the same period last year.

The BOC managed to keep its collections on rice import tariffs on track despite the continued drop in the average value of rice in the world market, which fell 16.3 percent from P19,977 per MT in the January-May 2021 period to P16,712 per MT during the same period this year, Customs Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco said.

He said during a recent Department of Finance (DOF) Executive Committee (Execom) meeting that “for the period May 1-31, 2022, the volume of rice imports increased by 18.8 percent to 290,979 MT from 245,033 MT last year, and revenue grew by 3.2 percent to P1.7 billion from P1.65 billion last year.”

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), tariffs collected from rice imports go to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). The law took effect on March 5, 2019.

Collections in excess of the P10 billion fund go to the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA).

For pork, Dy Buco said that from the time the presidential orders lowering tariffs and increasing the allowable import volumes on this commodity took effect in April last year, the BOC already collected P5.8 billion in duties as of May 31, 2022 from a total volume of 353 million kilograms (kg).

Out of this volume, 125 million kg were processed from Jan. 1 to May 31, which is higher by 32 percent from the 94.93 million kg reported in the same period last year, he said.

From April 9, 2021 to May 31, 2022, Dy Buco said the BOC estimates that it lost P5.2 billion in expected import duties from pork shipments during this period.

President Duterte had issued executive orders (EOs) that took effect starting April 7, 2021 to lower pork import tariffs and increase the allowable import volumes of the meat.

These directives were meant to help check inflation by boosting the supply of pork and stabilizing its retail prices in the domestic market after the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) had hurt domestic hog production.

EO 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to 5 percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months, took effect from April 7 to May 14, 2021.

EO 134, which superseded EO 128 and took effect on May 17 last year, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV to 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.

For imports outside the MAV, the tariff rates were set at 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent for the succeeding nine months.