Lower import duties seen to boost PH output
MANILA, Philippines–To bolster manufacturing and generate more jobs in this sector, the government is considering lowering import duties further, which may lead to reduced raw material and equipment costs.
“In support of the Philippine Development Plan goals of poverty reduction in multiple dimensions and massive quality employment creation, the Tariff Commission will undertake a comprehensive review of the most favored nation (MFN) tariff structure” covering 2016 to 2020, the agency said on its website.
MFN rates reflect duties on goods from outside Asean and its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Products from the United States and the European Union—two of the Philippines’ biggest trading partners with whom Manila has yet to sign an FTA—are covered by MFN tariffs.
When President Aquino signed Executive Order No. 61, in October 2011, he laid down the country’s MFN tariff structure for 2011-2015. The prevailing MFN rates average around 7 percent across all tradable goods.
The Tariff Commission already started to receive position papers from various industry groups lobbying for specific tariff rates to be slapped during the five-year period after 2015, Artemio D. Bernardino, director of the agency’s Research, Investigation and International Trade Analysis Services office, told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Bernardino said that the various industry road maps being crafted by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Agriculture and the private sector will be factored into the tariff review. This initiative is expected to strengthen the country’s manufacturing sector.
“We would put in place rates that would help manufacturers grow their competitiveness by reducing the cost of their inputs, which would then bring down the cost of their finished products,” Bernardino said.
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