Romualdez appeals for lower tariffs for PH goods entering Japan

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Romualdez appeals for lower tariffs for PH goods entering Japan

By: - Reporter /
/ 05:35 PM June 20, 2024

PHOTO: House Speaker Martin Romualdez STORY: Romualdez appeals for lower tariffs for PH goods entering Japan

House Speaker Martin Romualdez –File photo from the website of the House of Representatives

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is appealing for lower tariffs on products from the Philippines entering Japan so that it can get a bigger share of agricultural items there.

Romualdez made this appeal on Thursday during a meeting with Japanese lawmakers for the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League (JPPFL), led by Chairman Hiroshi Moriyama, a member of the Japanese House.

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Specifically, he asked for a review of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), a deal involving mutual investments and free trade.

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He said the review could underscore a stronger commitment between the two countries, after the first-ever trilateral summit in the United States.

“We believe that a review of the (JPEPA) especially after the recent trilateral agreements, would show support and solidarity. This request aligns with our past efforts and aims to foster a better and more conducive relationship between our countries,” Romualdez said.

READ: Plans laid out in trilateral meet hold immense promise for PH – Romualdez

According to Romualdez, such a review is important since the Philippines’ market share of some agricultural items had dipped, as in the case of bananas which have dropped from 90 percent to 78 percent.

“This decline is not necessarily due to specific circumstances but rather the [COVID-19] pandemic and current regional conditions,” he said, noting that trade between Japan and the Philippines has decreased by 12 percent.

Romualdez said that Moriyama, a former agriculture minister, acknowledged the request to resume the JPEPA review and “expressed his willingness to consider it.”

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Philippine Ambassador to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano, who was present at the meeting, expressed concerns about the drop in banana exports to Japan.

“The majority of our banana exports come from our region. We are very concerned with the decline in banana exports to Japan,” Garcia-Albano, a former Davao City lawmaker, said.

“We hope that with the general review of JPEPA, we can address the differences in tariffs imposed on bananas, aiming to level the playing field with other countries like Vietnam, which enjoys a zero percent tariff,” she added.

The JPEPA is seen as a more effective method to address this trade issue, even if both countries are members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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This is not the first time though that the Philippine government sought a review of the JPEPA.  In November 2021, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it wanted to get a better deal for its agricultural products entering Japan, which is why renegotiations have stalled.

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TAGS: Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, Martin Romualdez, PH-Japan relations, tariffs on PH goods

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