DA to ask South Korea for lower export tariffs

Font Size

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is seeking little to no tariffs for agricultural exports to South Korea through a preferential trade agreement (PTA) expected to be signed next month.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters on Friday on the sidelines of the 12th International Food Expo that the government wants to secure zero tariffs, especially for banana exports currently slapped a 30% levy.

“We’re asking that it could be at least 10%. [But] the 10% is only our second option. We’re actually asking for a zero tariff. That’s the only fallback position,” he added.

Mr. Piñol will be joining President Rodrigo R. Duterte on his visit to South Korea next month to sign two memoranda of understanding (MoU).

The MoUs will cover agricultural cooperation between the two countries and the amendment of a Korean Program in the International Agriculture Center.

The PTA, which will be handled by the Department of Trade and Industry, will cover all items traded between the two countries.

Mr. Piñol said the Philippines is pushing for the PTA “because [Finance] Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III feels that the setup is unfair.”

“The fruits from Korea, for example, their apples are only slapped a 5% tariff and our bananas have 30%. So this doesn’t look fair… Ecuador’s exports have no tariff with them,” he added.

“Our proposal is to — initially, if it’s fine with them — have it at 10% and once the PTA is signed, then we can renegotiate the rate of the tariffs.”

The DA will also promote the export of the country’s excess egg production during the visit. The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier reported that chicken egg production posted the highest increase in the first quarter. — A.G.A. Mogato