MANILA — Agriculture Secretary William Dar has reiterated his request to Japan Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Shinya Fujiki to lower the tariffs imposed on Philippine bananas.
“I would like to request your support for the preferential tariff rate of zero percent for Philippine bananas in Japan, which currently imposes an 18-percent tariff during the winter season and 8 percent during the summer,” Dar said in a statement.
Japan used to be the largest importer of Philippine bananas for nearly three decades (1991-2017) until China took the spot, buying more than 1.1 million tons in 2018. This redounds to a 56-percent increase from 2017 banana imports.
Currently, Japan is one of the countries where imported bananas from the Philippines are taxed heavily. It is due to this concern that Dar requested a zero tariff on the banana.
MAFF Vice Minister Fujiki wished to discuss the matter in the context of the ongoing review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).
Other matters that Dar tabled during the bilateral meeting included the Philippines’ request for updates on the market access for Hass avocados and the accreditation of the Philippines as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-free country.
Meanwhile, among the issues that Vice Minister Fujiki raised include the elimination of tariffs on Japanese rice and market access for Japanese strawberries in the Philippines.
Both countries agreed to fast track the submission of necessary documents to expedite the process to enhance trade for both sides. (PR)