Press Releases

DA won’t suspend order on frozen meat importsnews2
The Philippine Daily Inquirer
March 1, 2012
Ma. Elisa Osorio

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will not suspend the implementation of Administrative Order No. 22 covering frozen meat imports and over which the United States is threatening retaliatory trade action on Philippine export of rice and sugar. In press conference, Alcala revealed that the DA is currently in talks with US Department of Agriculture officials regarding AO 22.

US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis has visited Alcala to discuss possible solutions or amendments to AO 22. According to Alcala, “both sides want several details in the implementation of the AO 22, which they want to clarify.” He added “some of the discussions were pleasant and direct. But there are several points and suggestions that they brought up that were not readily acceptable to us.” Alcala acknowledged that “they have their own views regarding the new draft order, but we are not interested on that. We are more interested in the health of the Filipino people.” Earlier, the US threatened to block Manila’s application for an extension of quantitative restriction (QR) on rice if the DA does not defer implementation of AO 22. The USDA’s position was communicated to Alcala by US agriculture attaché who requested a review or suspension of AO 22. “They told me that the order would affect them,” Alcala said. Local meat importers also question the validity of AO 22, which covers the rules in the handling of frozen meat. The US and Canada supply about 90 percent of the frozen meat products in local supermarkets. However, if the US files an opposition before the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Philippines bid for a three-year extension its QR on rice, which will expire by July 2012, would be jeopardized. The Philippine government is pushing for the extension of the QR, citing the need to prepare Filipino farmers for international trade and to achieve rice self-sufficiency. An extension of the QR would allow the Philippines to limit the volume of rice that can be imported by the government every year, preventing the influx of cheap rice from other countries.