No Cabinet officials advocating zero tariffs on agri products importation, Palace says
Malacanang said on Thursday no Cabinet officials were advocating zero tariff rates on imported agricultural products to control inflation.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque cited what Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol has said making zero tariffs on imported meat, fish, and vegetables, among others would mean "war with domestic agricultural producers."
"No one from the Cabinet is advocating zero (tariff) right now," he said.
Roque said the government should find a balance.
He said the proposal of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez could be the "balanced way" in addressing high inflation and the need for the local producers to compete.
"Lower the tariff, but not to remove the tariff," he said.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda reportedly said that President Rodrigo Duterte was expected to issue an executive order reducing to zero the tariff rates on imported fish, corn, vegetables and other agricultural products.
Roque could not confirm this as he reiterated: "What I know right now is nobody was saying that we have zero tariffs. It's possible to lower the tariff." Celerina Monte/DMS