Tariff Commission to hold consultations on Phl position in RCEP (Philippine Star)

Boracay, Aklan The Tariff Commission (TC) is set to hold a series of consultations with stakeholders to determine how the Philippines can position itself in the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

TC Chairman Edgardo Abon told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting, the consultations would be conducted as developments are made in the ongoing negotiations for the RCEP which seeks to consolidate all of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade agreements into one regional free trade network.

The consultations are being conducted to determine the impact of the Philippine participation in RCEP on tariffs imposed on products under the country’s Tariff and Customs Code.

During a public consultation conducted last May 8, Abon said the TC discussed India’s proposal seeking to remove the tariffs on 65 percent of all goods upon signing of the RCEP and to bring down the tariffs to zero on another 20 percent of the goods within 10 years.

The Philippines has eliminated tariffs on 99.65 percent of trade tariff lines under the ASEAN Free Trade Area.

At present, the ASEAN has free trade agreements with China, Korea, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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During the consultation, stakeholders were also asked to submit position papers on the proposal discussed until May 22.

“We will review (position papers). We’ll collate the position and then report to TRM (Tariff Related Matters) so we know how we can position ourselves,” Abon said.

He said consultations will be scheduled as new developments arise in the RCEP negotiations.

Another round of negotiations on the RCEP is set to take place next month in Japan after talks were held in Thailand last February.

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