The Philippines are the second largest papaya exporter in ASEAN after Malaysia, but it might lose its papaya exports market to Malaysia if the country fails to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will abolish the 24 percent tariff on the exports of this tropical fruit.
During the RCEP Senate hearing today, chaired by Senator Loren Legarda, Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty cited papaya as among the country’s agricultural produce that will be disadvantaged by not participating in RCEP. The mega free trade deal phases out the 24 percent papaya tariff over a ten-year period or at 2.4 percent annual reduction, he said.
Should the Philippines cannot participate in RCEP, Gepty explained that the country’s papaya exports would be slapped with 24 percent duty. This means, the Philippines’ papaya export is more expensive than the papaya exports of Malaysia, which will be entitled to lower duty immediately and zero duty on the tenth year of RCEP.