Growers want lower tariff on banana exports to Japan

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tells the audience at the National Banana Congress in Davao City on October 7, 2016 that “the greatest promise of the banana growers in the Philippines … is really the law and order” as he urges everyone to help “put together a country that’s bereft of any revolutionary tax, extortion.” ROBINSON NIÑAL/ Presidential Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 May) – The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) called on President Duterte to work for the reduction or elimination of the hefty tariff rates on Cavendish bananas to Japan during his visit to that country later this month.

The President is set to leave for Japan to attend the two-day 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia on May 30 to 31.

“I really hope they will be able to discuss the reduction or total elimination of tariffs imposed on our bananas entering japan,” PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig said on Tuesday.

“We will not be competitive in the Japanese markets if our competitors are enjoying zero tariff on their goods while we are not,” he said.

He said Japan is imposing tariff rates of 8 percent during summer and a maximum of 18 percent during winter for Philippine Cavendish bananas.

He added the banana industry would “suffer and might even collapse if we cannot replace markets lost due to high tariffs.”

According to the data released by PBGEA, Cavendish banana export to Japan last year reached 635,962 metric tons, an increase of 6.8 percent compared to 595,677 MT in 2017. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)