Meat Over-importation Clarified at “Kapihan sa Aduana”
Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Davinio Catbagan clarified that meat over-importation, as one of the concerns of the local hog raisers, is not actually prevalent but is relative of which sector of the country’s hog raising industry is affected.
In the launching of the BOC Press Corps. Inc.’s, fortnightly “Kapihan sa Aduana” media forum at the Bureau of Customs Presidents Room yesterday, Catbagan said the country allows only the importation of pork fats and pig extremities as ingredients for processed meat products. Thus, in effect, the local pork wet meat market for pork should not be affected by the importation of pork in the country, except those who could be trading in pork fats and other pig extremities.
Catbagan also expressed his thanks to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon’s adoption of the DA’s proposed measure to use the reference value of 1.97US$ per kilo in the determination of duties for meat importation saying that, “We are very glad of the Bureau of Customs cooperative efforts with the DA in helping solve the problem of the local hog raisers.” Local hog raisers claim that, so long as pork importations are appropriately taxed, they can be competitive with the imported meat products.
For his part, Customs Commissioner Biazon assured the DA of the BOC’s support and cooperation to address the hog raisers concerns saying that although, the reference value is just used as a guide for determining the duties of importations as under international customs practices, transaction values are the ones used, Biazon took consideration of the DA’s proposal.
Asked about collection targets, Biazon explained that the BOC is actually tasked to provide the balance between revenue collection, border protection and trade facilitation. According to Biazon, just like the other customs agencies in our ASEAN neighbors, he believes that the BOC should also put more emphasis on trade facilitation and border protection, and make revenue collection more efficient through modernization.
“If we can eliminate human intervention in the processing and release of imports by making the procedure fully computerized, then we can eliminate the leakages in the system and maximize collection of revenues,” Biazon said.
For her part, BOC-Interim Customs Accreditation Unit (ICARE) Chief lawyer Rhea Gregorio, assured the members of the Customs press that her office shall accredit only the legitimate importers and those who have the capacity to engage in the international trading business, even as she also pointed out that, already, 20 importers have been delisted from the BOC roster of importers after they were discovered to be fictitious.
“The ICARE office guarantees that only legitimate importers whose accreditation documents have been carefully scrutinized and validated shall be accredited,” Gregorio said.
In wrapping up the forum, BOC Press Corps. Inc, President Chito Junia thanked the “Kapihan” guests for the very enlightening discussions on issues affecting the import export industry, especially on the issue of meat importations, saying that the succeeding “Kapihan sa Aduana” would even be more dynamic and exciting as other customs related issues shall be discussed.