PHILIPPINES – Concerns have been raised ove an Administrative Order issued by the Philippine Department of Agriculture that imposes new technical requirements on retail sales of frozen meat.
Exporters are concerned that it could seriously affect exports of US and third country meat and poultry products.
The regulation does not apply to meat never refrigerated, or to meat sold in restaurants or for processing.
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Servvice, industry sources estimate that the regulation could affect 25 to 30 per cent of meat and poultry imports.
To date, however, enforcement has focused on open or ‘wet’ market vendors of lower value organ meat and by-products.
Traders assert that the order – A.O. 22 – unfairly targets imports, since it applies only to frozen meat and not to fresh.
The industry also has criticised the short 15 days between announcement and implementation of the order and the lack of infrastructure to comply with it.
Governments of major supplying countries have expressed concerns over the order and have encouraged the Philippine Government to suspend and notify this new regulation to the World Trade Organization for comment.
The USDA FAS said that while industry sources say the order is a response to calls from producer groups for trade restrictions in the wake of record pork and chicken imports in 2010, the price impact from these imports is unclear.
Though chicken prices for both producers and consumers declined in 2010, hog and pork prices were at record levels.
US meat and poultry exports to the Philippines exceeded $100 million in 2010, up 40 and 50 per cent, respectively, over 2009 levels.