GMA'S GOAL: MORE RP FRUIT EXPORTS TO KOREA, JAPANManila, June 4, 2003 -- Better market access for Philippine fruit exports is the government's main economic agenda during President Arroyo's state and working visits to Korea and Japan, Trade and Industry secretary Mar Roxas said. "While we appreciate the efforts made the governments of Korea and Japan to accommodate Philippine fruit exports and lowering tariffs, we will still push for further reduction in tariff to make our products competitively priced in the market," Roxas said. Roxas said that tariff imposed by Korea on Philippine bananas is currently at 30 percent plus 10 percent adjustment tariff. In 1991, Korea imposed a 50 percent tariff on bananas, plus 40 percent adjustment tariff topped by a 10 percent VAT. The adjustment tariff is designed to deter importation of particular goods such as luxury items and a safeguard against temporary import surge in the case of bananas. Korea, however, applied the tariff despite failing to prove that there is indeed an import surge of bananas. Roxas said that the government will also ask the Japanese government to allow Philippine fruits better access to the Japanese market through lowered tariffs, inclusion in the Generalized System of Preferences and certification of local treatment processes. The 10 percent VAT imposed by Korea on bananas was eventually scrapped in 1998 and the adjustment tariff progressively brought down from 40 percent in 1998 to the present 10 percent. "We acknowledge the steps taken by the Korean government to improve market access for our bananas but out exporters still find the 30 percent basic tariff high compared to those in other markets," Roxas said. China currently imposes a 13 percent tariff on bananas and is scheduled to cut it further to 10 percent in 2004. Taiwan imposes a 12.5 percent tariff, Japan 10 to 20 percent and the United States 1.4 percent. The government cited that banana exports were singled out by the Korean government for assessing adjustment tariff.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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