Philippines renegotiates PJEPA agri tariffs, quotas
The Philippine Star
May 3, 2016

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will attempt to sway Japan to scrap tariffs and quotas for a number of agricultural products when both countries meet this week for the first renegotiation of the Philippine Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).

In turn, the country may have to lower its tariffs for industrial products, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told The STAR yesterday.

?The preferential tariffs we got from the PJEPA was inferior compared to the latter free trade agreements (other countries got) with Japan. Either that or we are already maximizing and even exceeding the quota we got,? Rodolfo said, referring to the importance of the PJEPA renegotiation this Friday.

?Of course we will be pushing no quota and zero tariffs. It is critical for us to get that for our agricultural products,? he added.

Among the agricultural products for which the government will seek zero duties and no quotas are bananas and pineapples.

According to Rodolfo, Philippine banana exports to Japan are subject to a seasonal tariff, while pineapple shipments have a set quota.

?How seasonal tariff goes is during months when they have production, they charge higher tariffs, but when it?s their off-season, they will lower it because they need it,? he said.

With the Philippines having a clear track to what it wants in the upcoming PJEPA renegotiation, Rodolfo said Japan may likely request for market access improvements for industrial products that include automotive, petrochemical, and steel.

PJEPA was signed in 2006,and came into effect in 2009.

Rodolfo said the first renegotiation of the agreement should have happened in 2011 but it was deferred at a later period given that PJEPA was only ratified by the Philippine Senate in 2008.

The DTI said economic relations between Japan and the Philippines strengthened with the signing of the PJEPA.

When the agreement came into effect in 2009, Rodolfo said the Philippine trade surplus with Japan stood at $1 billion.

The trade surplus increased to $7 billion in 2015 and is further expected to increase with the upcoming PJEPA renegotiation. ?

Related releases from Business Mirror, Malaya, Manila Bulletin, The Manila Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and NBN4/PTV4.

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