MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs said Wednesday it missed its first-half cash collection goal of P137.9 billion due to the strong peso, reduced tariffs, and partly as a result of slow auto imports following the disasters in Japan.
The country's second-largest revenue agency generated cash revenue of P126.1 billion in January to June, 8.6% below target, but 15% higher than its collections last year.
Customs chief Angelito Alvarez said nearly 2,000 products such as petroleum, cereals, plastics, iron and steel -- which are considered as traditional revenue sources of the agency -- now come in duty-free or with reduced tariff as a result of free-trade deals.
"The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last March 11 also caused a drastic slowdown on the imports of completely built units from Japan," he added.
The customs bureau accounts for nearly one-fifth of government tax collections.
Despite slow revenues, the government has said it was confident it could trim the budget deficit to 3.2% of gross domestic product this year, from 3.9% in 2010.