MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippine government lost nearly P4 billion in tariffs from 38 million kilos of pork allegedly smuggled into the country last year, according to Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Tuesday.
Comparing data from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the United Nations Commodity Trade Division (UN ComTrade), SINAG came up with a discrepancy of about 38 million kgs pork, presumably smuggled into the Philippines.
BAI data showed total pork imports of 199 million kgs, while the UN ComTrade recorded 237 million kgs.
“Multiplying the 38 million kilos unaccounted for with the correct duties for prime cuts misdeclared as pork fats or offal, the result is a staggering P3.85 billion in lost revenues for government,” SINAG chair Rosendo So said in an emailed statement.
He added that of the 237 million kgs cited by UN Comtrade, 15 million kgs came from China, which the Department of Agriculture banned due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Beijing.
“We’re fighting smuggling on two fronts: one is outright smuggling and the other is technical smuggling where illicit importer-traders misdeclare imported prime pork cuts as pork offal to evade paying the right taxes (tariff),” So explained.
SINAG said some importers declare their products as pork offal or internal organs, entrails, skin and other leftover materials commonly used as extenders in processed meat products.
Pork offal is levied a 5 percent tariff compared to 40 percent on prime cuts.
So claimed that in 2013, the government lost revenue of up to P1.9 billion due to “technical smuggling” or misdeclaration of goods.
The agri group also pointed out the plunge in production numbers from backyard hog raisers.
In four years, backyard hog raisers’ output declined by 1.9 million heads. From 9.5 million heads in January 2010, the number of hogs raised by backyard raisers decreased to 7.6 million so far this year. (MNS)