Du30 seeks zero tariff for PH bananas in Japan
PRESIDENT has pushed for zero tariff for banana, pineapple and mango following his visit to Japan.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said Japan imposes 8.4 percent tariff for Philippine bananas during off-season of Japanese fruits and a very high 18.4 percent during the fruiting season, obviously to protect their fruit farmers.
"However, Ecuador, a major banana producing country, has been given zero tariff for its bananas exported to Japan allowing it to eat into the market share of the Philippines," Piñol said.
The Philippines used to dominate the Japanese banana market but recently, Ecuador, in spite of its distance, made inroads into the Japan banana market because of the zero tariff privilege it earned, Piñol added.
"In October last year, during the first Presidential visit to Japan, I discussed with the Japanese Agriculture Minister the issue of the tariff on Philippine fruits, especially bananas. The negotiations, however, have been very slow," he added.
While Japanese consumers, according to surveys conducted, prefer Philippine bananas, trading companies are starting to shift to Ecuadorian bananas because of economic considerations.
"With the personal and official involvement of President Duterte and given his friendship with Prime Minister Abe, things are expected to move faster now," Piñol added.