The Philipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) has stated that it is in talks with its South Korean buyers to lobby Seoul for reach a bilateral agreement with the Philippines that allows for tax-free banana imports. The current tariffs are 30%.
“We only want a level playing field in South Korea, Japan and other markets where our bananas are taxed heavily. We have long been urging our government officials to be more vigorous in seeking fair treatment for our banana exports. But it seems their efforts are not enough so we are also doing our part by talking to our business counterparts and foreign officials as well before we lose our share in these markets,” PBGEA executive director Stephen A. Antig said in a statement.
Antig is set to go to South Korea for the discussions with stakeholders end-November then to Japan for a similar discussion with their business partners there. Another PBGEA team is preparing to go to Canberra on Nov. 27 to meet with the Australian government in a bid to open up that market during lean months that would not compete with the Australian banana cop.
Bworldonline.com quoted PBGEA president Victor S. Mercado as saying: “The high import tariffs remain the sector’s most pressing concern. Something has to happen soon, which is why we are taking the initiative ourselves to talk to our business partners and government officials overseas to present our case for a more favorable treatment for Philippine bananas.”