Philippine banana exporters hope for reduced tariffs with Japan

The executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) hopes Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be able to encourage the Japanese government to relax if not lift the imposition of hefty taxes on Philippine bananas during his two-day working visit in Japan.

Duterte and his economic team will leave Davao City for Japan Sunday evening and will return home on Tuesday.

PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig said he hopes Duterte can atleast negotiate with the Japanese to lower the tariffs to encourage more shipment of Philippine bananas.

Antig said exporters pay 18.4 percent tariff rates during winter (December to February) and 8.4 percent during summer (June to August).

“That will definitely increase volume of bananas going to Japan and give the industry a breathing space,” he said.

He appealed to government to expedite the negotiation as their global competitor, Ecuador, is eating into the country’s market share not only in Japan but also in South Korea and Middle East.

Based on the 2016 report released by PBGEA, Japan was the biggest buyer of Philippine bananas at 550,079 metric tons, followed by Middle East 403,259 MT, South Korea 224,192 MT, and China 107,489 MT.

“The competition now is no longer company versus company but country versus country,” he said.

Speaking on the first day of the Banana Congress at SMX Convention Center Davao on October 6, Dole Asia Holdings chair David DeLorenzo said the Philippines’ market share in Japan dropped to 81 percent last year from 93 percent.

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