JAPANESE banana importers have lobbied for the elimination of import tariffs on Philippine bananas being exported to Japan.
“What is needed now is an official request from the Philippine government appealing for the elimination of the import duty underscoring such elimination is of great importance to the Philippines,” Stephen Antig, PBGEA executive director.
He said the Japanese importers lobbied the elimination of tariffs on Philippine bananas to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
Antig said industry players in the Philippines have been writing concerned government agencies like the the Department of Agriculture to have negotiations with Japan.
“Up to now, they cannot give us a clear cut answer if they will or when it will be discussed,” he said.
He said they are seeking a meeting with DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to be able to discuss in detail on the request to remove or reduce the tariff imposed on Philippine banana being exported to Japan.
Antig said though the Japanese market is the most stable market for banana exporters, consumption of banana in Japan decreased to 18.25 kilogram (kg) in 2013 from 23.08 kg in 2009.
“Definitely, the elimination of the tariff will bring down the retail prices and spur demand for the consumption of Philippine bananas,” he said.
Antig said as the demand increases for Philippine bananas, this will result to the development of additional banana hectarage in the country and in turn generate additional employment.
“If it will generate additional employment, then of course, additional taxes for the government. Then we will be able to help in the poverty alleviation of Mindanao,” he said.
Antig also pointed out that though there is the risk of lower prices for Philippine bananas, this will be compensated by an increase in the volume of bananas being exported.
He also said Philippine bananas will also be more competitive as compared to bananas being imported by Japan from other banana producing countries, especially now that Ecuador bananas are starting to penetrate the East Asian markets.