Tariff Review on Farm Products under Way
The government is currently conducting a comprehensive review of tariff duties imposed on importations of agricultural products to protect the local farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. said yesterday that the tariff review was being undertaken in view of the ongoing negotiations on agricultural tariffs now being conducted by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The Department of Agriculture (DA) is battling for the maintenance of tariffs on all agricultural products for 2004, except for agricultural inputs, in view of the ongoing negotiations in the WTO as well as the difficulties being experienced by the domestic agricultural sector," said Lorenzo. "This would allow maximum flexibility for the Philippines in the ongoing negotiations as well as provide respite to the agriculture sector from further tariff reductions and enable them to compete with exports," he pointed out.
Lorenzo recalled that the DA also took this position during the review of the 2003 tariffs. "As a result of this position, the tariffs on agricultural products were maintained at their 2002 levels, except for some vegetables whose tariffs were increased and some agricultural inputs whose tariffs were lowered to 1 percent," he affirmed.
The DA worked for the increase in tariffs on some vegetable products to enable domestic producers to compete with imports, Lorenzo pointed out. …