Vigilance over Illegal Trade Acts Urged

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The Philippines should exercise increased vigilance over illegal trade measures imposed by other countries to ensure that the country’s exports are amply protected, said Philippines Permanent Representative to the WTO Ambassador Manuel A.J. Teehankee.Teehankee said this in light of the various protective measures that have been resorted to or maybe resorted to by trading countries as an offshoot of the global financial crisis.“We should remove illegal measures that are violative of WTO (World Trade Organization) rules, so we need to increase vigilance to ensure exports and domestic industries are properly protected,” Teehankee said.Teehankee cited the Philippines pending cases in the WTO on excise taxation on distilled spirits against Europe and the US, the cigarette tax dispute versus Thailand and the ITA tariff issue of EU versus the US, Japan and Chinese Taipei in which the Philippines has a systemic interest.He also cited the case of the US-China trade row on Chinese tires.According to Teehankee, the reason for all these disputes not just against the Philippines but other countries is largely economic in nature.“The same reason they sue us for distilled spirits is due to crisis because international brands sales have dipped in our country,” Teehankee said.That is why, he said, the presence of the WTO is still very relevant in settling trade disputes of member countries.“The WTO remains relevant in that it is the only multilateral trading body that can resolve trade disputes because it is a treaty and is rules-based so it can enforce,” Teehankee said. …