Philippines to renegotiate banana tariff to attain fair trade

The Philippines are renegotiating duties on fruits with Korea and Japan to correct the tariff structure and attain fair trade, as it is presently unbalanced.

According to, Ramon Lopez, the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in its bilateral meetings with these countries last month, that the Philippines was seeking to start discussions on bringing down tariff rates on Philippine bananas.

Lopez said despite existing free trade agreements (FTA) duties remained high.

Lopez referred to the need to have reciprocal tariff rates of zero to 5 percent.

Bananas entering Korea from the Philippines have a tariff of 25 to 30 percent under the Asian-Korean FTA, however fruits like strawberries, permissions and pears which are seen as a high value fruit, come into the Philippines at Zero to 5 percent tariff.

Japan imposes a two-step seasonal tariff rate on bananas. When the fruit is not in season in that country it's 8 percent and during peak season 18 percent.

Lopez acknowledges that all countries have their sensitive lists to protect their farmers just as the Philippines itself does.

“Those things we have to renegotiate. We will review which products have an imbalance in tariff structure,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the renegotiation's have been approved and endorsed by the leaders as one of the topics raised in the bilateral meetings last month. 

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