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Dar welcomes free trade deal with South Korea

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Dar welcomes free trade deal with South Korea
“The recently concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea augurs well for Filipino farmers, particularly those planting banana, because this will give them duty-free market access over a five-year period from the current 30 percent tariff that will be gradually reduced by six percentage points every year, starting in 2022, down to zero on the fifth year or 2026,” Dar said.
pna.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary William Dar welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations for a free trade agreement with South Korea, saying it bodes well for the country’s farmers.

“The recently concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea augurs well for Filipino farmers, particularly those planting banana, because this will give them duty-free market access over a five-year period from the current 30 percent tariff that will be gradually reduced by six percentage points every year, starting in 2022, down to zero on the fifth year or 2026,” Dar said.

On Tuesday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-Koo signed and issued the joint ministerial statement at the conclusion of the negotiations for the FTA.

Among the Philippine farm products that have been granted duty-free market access include bananas, canned pineapples, okra, papaya, glass eels, refined coconut oil, cashew nuts and fruit juices.

These are in addition to several others that are already being exported to South Korea at zero-duty, under the ASEAN-Korea FTA, such as avocado, coconut and coconut products (dessicated coconut and crude oil), and carrageenan.

“Ensuring trade opening to the South Korean market for Philippine agriculture exports is a clear demonstration of the strong economic partnership between the two countries,” Dar said.

“We will continue to nurture this partnership, as we recognize that South Korea has been and will be a reliable partner in our aim to develop and modernize our agriculture and fishery sector, and boost the Philippine economy, amid the global pandemic,” he said.

Both the Philippines and South Korea committed to complete all necessary domestic procedures toward the signing of the FTA by early next year.

“We endeavor to have the FTA signed before February 2022,” Lopez said earlier this week.

The two countries also agreed to further negotiate provisions for the chapters on trade in services and investment no later than one year after the effectivity of the FTA.

Lopez said FTA is expected to contribute to recovery efforts of the two countries from the pandemic.

“This agreement will provide significant opportunities for business, investment and jobs both in the Philippines and Korea. This FTA, together with the soon to be ratified RCEP (Regional Economic Partnership) Agreement, represent milestones on our path towards a more robust and resilient economic partnership,” Lopez said.

FARMERS WILLIAM DAR
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