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Philippine banana growers hope Duterte’s visit to Korea results in lower tariffs

The Philipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) has expressed hopes that president Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to South Korea will result in reduced tariffs for the export of their Cavendish bananas. PBGEA members were elated when they were invited to join the team of the president, through Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez. The association was given five slots to join the Philippines-South Korea Business Forum and Witnessing of the Exchange of Business Agreement, to be held on June 5 on the side-lines of Duterte’s visit to South Korea.

PBGEA’s participation in the business forum is an indication that the government is giving importance to the banana sector, said PBGEA executive director, Stephen Antig. However, he also pointed out that the tariff issue is not easy to settle because the Philippines falls under the Asean-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) for both plantation products and fresh and dried bananas, which have been classified under Korea’s Highly Sensitive Group E. describes how under this category, the tariff lines are exempted from tariff concession, meaning the tariffs for bananas are excluded from reciprocal agreements for reduction and elimination.

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