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PHL-Japan trade deal review stalls on market-access issue

No progress has been made with the general review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA) this year due to concerns over market access for agricultural products, particularly bananas, which are major export products of the country.

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodoldo told the reporters in a recent news briefing that the Philippines is keen on negotiating better market access for bananas, especially because the local exporters still pay a substantial amount of duties for entry.

Currently, the Philippine bananas are imposed with an 18-percent tariff during the winter season and a lower 8 percent during summer.

The country’s banana exports to Japan reached 1.345 million metric tons (MT) last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), making it the top export market for the local produce. As of end-July, banana shipments to Japan reached 508,590.569 MT reports

“Philippines-Japan FTA [free trade agreement] review and renegotiation has not moved forward, particularly because of Philippines’s insistence on discussing and negotiating for better market access for our agricultural product, including tropical fruits,” he said.


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