AGRICULTURE Secretary William Dar has reiterated his call on the Japanese government to lower the tariffs on Philippines bananas.
Dar made the call to Japan Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Shinya Fujiki during the bilateral meeting between the Philippines and Japan on October16 in Brunei Darussalam.
“I would like to request your support for the preferential tariff rate of 0% for Philippine bananas in Japan, which currently imposes 18% tariff during the winter season and 8% during the summer,” Dar said.
Japan used to be the largest importer of Philippine bananas for nearly three decades (1991-2017) until China snatched the spot, buying more than 1.1 million tons in 2018. This redounds to a 56 percent increase from 2017’s banana imports.
Currently, Japan is one of the countries taxing Philippine bananas heavily.
MAFF Vice Minister Fujiki wanted to discuss the matter in the context of the ongoing review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).
Other matters that Dar presented during the bilateral meeting include the Philippines’ request for updates on the market access for Hass avocados and the accreditation of the Philippines as a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)-free country.
Meanwhile, among the issues that Vice Minister Fujiki raised are the elimination of tariff on Japanese rice, and market access of Japanese strawberries in the Philippines.
Both countries agreed to fast track the submission of necessary documents to expedite the process to enhance trade between both sides.