Duterte to raise “high tariff” on Philippine bananas in Japan visit
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday he will raise before the Japanese government the "high tariff" it imposes on the Philippine banana exports during his trip there later this month.
In a speech before banana growers in Davao City, he said this was one of the issues he would bring up when he goes to Tokyo after his trip to China.
"High tariff of Philippines exports to Korea and Japan. After China, I'm going to Japan," he said, adding that this would be one of the "topics of interest" lined up by his Cabinet officials that he would raise when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, one of the Cabinet officials who will be joining Duterte in the trip to Japan, told the Manila Shimbun, "the concern was mainly on the high tariff imposed on banana exports to Japan."
Even during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, the agriculture department had been pushing to lower tariffs on the banana exports to Japan to zero under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.
Tariff rates of bananas to Japan range between 8.5 percent to 18.5 percent.
Duterte's trip to Japan October 25 to 27 will be his first since he assumed office on June 30. He accepted Japan's invitation when he had a bilateral meeting with Abe at the sidelines of the regional summit in Laos early last month.
In the same speech, Duterte said he is "positive" about his trip to China, particularly on the possibility of allowing Filipino fishermen to Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is being patrolled by the Chinese Coast Guard.
"I'm quite positive with China. We will have Filipinos returning to the traditional fishing grounds," he said.
He also hoped that China would relax its quality control on the Philippine banana exports.
"I hope to report to you good news when I shall have visited Japan and China," Duterte said. Celerina Monte/DMS