Onion prices sink as import duties suspended

Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

Consumers can expect a markdown on onion prices by next week following the Bureau of Customs (BoC) granting of the Agriculture department’s request to suspend the implementation of the Special Safeguard (SSG) duty on onion imports.

If I find that prices have not fallen, I will restore SSG.

According to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Pinol in a brief interview on Thursday, the lowering of retail prices of onions in the market is set to begin on 19 September, two weeks after the BOC announced the lifting of SSG.

However, Pinol forewarned that he would reimpose the SSG if no decrease in onion prices is observed.

“By 20 September, I will go around the Metro Manila markets, and if I find that prices have not fallen, I will restore SSG,” said the Agri chief.

Pinol added they were able to convince importers to assist the farmers by buying their produce to sell it in the market.

Moreover, the secretary said that after allowing the importation of 49,900 metric tons of red onions, the DA will temporarily suspend the release of import documents covering another 14,000 MT.