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Relying on imports to solve price hikes will harm jobs —trader

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 8/30/2018 Merueñas, Mark
Poultry price hike in QC © Video grab Poultry price hike in QC

The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Inc. (Pagasa) warned Thursday against relying on importation to cushion the effects of rising prices of consumer goods brought by record high inflation rates.

Importing chicken is one of the solutions the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Agriculture (DA) considering to solve the sudden hike in chicken prices.

Pagasa President Steven Cua said in an interview on Balitanghali that an over reliance on importation may discourage broilers and even other traders from continuing operations in the country.

"Kapag masyadong open ang economy natin sa imports... wala nang industrialists na magtatayo dito ng planta o ng farms, and there will be a lack of jobs, that's for sure," he said.

"Hindi naman pwedeng forever import, kasi 'pag nasanay tayo sa import, mawawalan ng trabaho lahat ng mga trabahong binibigay ng industriya natin," Cua added.

The United Broilers Raisers Association (UBRA), in a statement, also objected to importing chicken to drive poultry prices down.

"Mahirap naman 'yung tinatamaan na kami sa mababang farm-gate tapos bibigyan n'yo ng pabor 'yung mga importer eh pagkaganyan, mag-iimporter na rin kami, titigil na kaming mag-alaga," UBRA president Elias Jose Inciong said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez noted that there should be a balance between consumer and trader interests.

"Kailangan talaga balanse lang. I-protect mo 'yung local industry pero i-protect din natin 'yung consumer by ensuring na may ample supply," he said.

The DTI has already asked local manufacturers to observe a six-month prize freeze for certain goods to help tide consumers over.

The department may also meet with traders soon to address the "unreasonable" increase in the prices of chicken. — Rie Takumi/MDM, GMA News

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