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US Maintains Access to Philippine Pork Market

by 5m Editor
26 February 2009, at 8:40am

US - In a victory for US pork producers, the Philippine government indicated this week that it will maintain current rules for the administration of its tariff rate quota (TRQ) for pork, preserving US access to a fast-growing market for US pork exports.

The Philippine government had threatened in recent months to severely restrict pork imports by denying to legitimate Philippine importers the licenses they need to import pork within the country’s 54,210 metric ton pork TRQ. (Amounts of imported pork below the TRQ are subject to a lower, or in-quota, tariff rate. Once imports reach the TRQ threshold a higher tariff rate kicks in.)

In response to that threat, the National Pork Producers Council filed a petition with the Office of the US Trade Representative in December 2008, requesting removal of the Philippines from the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). In filing the petition, NPPC noted that the Philippine action would have violated World Trade Organization rules and a 1999 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and the Philippines.

GSP is a program designed to provide developing countries such as the Philippines with preferential duty access to the US market. In 2007, the Philippines exported $1.1 billion worth of products to the United States under the GSP program.

"We are delighted the Philippine government has lived up to its international obligations and given Philippine importers full access to the pork TRQ," said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio. "In light of that, we have withdrawn our GSP petition. However, we will remain vigilant to ensure the Philippine government continues to give the US pork industry full access to its pork market."

The Philippine decision to maintain its current TRQ administration rules preserves a growing market for US pork exports. US pork sales to the Philippines in 2008 surged by 360 percent to 25,300 metric tons valued at $46 million.