The Philippines, citing the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on world grain supplies and prices, has reduced its tariff on corn imports from 35% down to 5%, opening new opportunities for U.S. corn farmers.

Corn is a particularly important feed component for Filipino livestock producers and accounts for half the production costs for the country’s poultry and pork producers, the government said in an executive order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ukraine is a major global exporter of corn, but the Russian invasion continues to prevent Ukrainian farmers from exporting millions of tons of grain through its Black Sea ports. Ukraine is struggling to export its corn and wheat through ports in Poland, Lithuania, Romania and elsewhere, but only a fraction of normal shipments are making it.

The Philippines does not tax imports of milling wheat and the U.S. is a major supplier, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates. “The Philippines remains a top market for high-quality U.S. wheat with a five-year average export volume of 2.74 (million metric tons),” said a USW spokesman, who noted the U.S. maintains a market share of more than 90% for the country’s milling wheat import market.

The Philippine tariff reduction on corn applies to countries like the U.S. that are not members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and it will remain in place for the rest of 2022, according to the U.S. Grains Council.

“The U.S. and Philippines agricultural industries have enjoyed a strong relationship for a very long time,” said USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “The Council is standing by, ready to help the Philippine government and industry fill in any raw material supply shortage the country is facing. U.S. farmers have an abundant, sustainable corn crop ready to deploy when needed.”

Philippine imports of U.S. corn have been inconsistent in recent years. The U.S. shipped just $2.7 million worth of corn to the country last year after shipping $17.4 million worth of the grain there in 2020.

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The Grains Council says it’s hoping the tariff reduction will be extended beyond just this year.

“If these tariff reductions stick long term, the Philippine livestock industry will have a chance to become competitive again with their ASEAN neighbors,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia and Oceania. “When a steady supply of corn is available, the overall demand for corn grows, given corn is still the energy source of choice by many nutritionists.”

This isn’t the first time the Philippines has recently slashed import tariffs.

Last year the country raised its tariff rate quota on pork imports and cut its tariffs on pork. The in-quota tariff dropped from 30% to 15% and the over-quota tariff dropped from 40% to 25%.

The larger pork quota of 254,210 metric tons reverted to 54,210 tons at the end of 2021, but the lower tariffs are still in place after recently being extended through Dec. 31.

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