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14 February 2010

Philippines likely to keep MFN tariffs until 2015

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Existing most favored nation (MFN) tariffs covering 11,490 tariff lines with rates ranging from 0 to 65 percent are mostly likely to be carried over the next four years or until 2015, reported the Manila Bulletin.

This was the direction that Tariff Commission was trying to relay to business during the five-day marathon public hearing last week on the country’s Comprehensive Tariff Program covering HS 1-97 of the Tariff and Customs Code.

Tariff Commission chairman Edgardo Abon indicated this direction, which was met with no opposition from the business community.

Abon, however, has given industries to submit their position papers up to February 26 before the Commission will forward its recommendation to the Committee on Tariff and Related Matters then to the NEDA Board and the President’s approval.

The Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines has already submitted its petition for the inclusion, retention or deletion of some auto parts and components.

The Commission has initiated the review because the current Comprehensive Tariff Program (CTP) is only up to December 31, 2010. “Our Tariff and Customs Code is up to 2010 only, so we are doing this to bring out the rates for 2011 to 2015,” Abon said.

MFN tariffs cover the duty rates on imports coming from countries that the Philippines has no trade agreements. At present, the country has free trade agreement with Asean, China , Korea , Australia and New Zealand .

“The objective of this review is to make the CTP user friendly to assist business in doing their strategic planning for the next four years,” he added. The business community is keenly interested in the CTP review because tariff is part of the cost of doing business.


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