FTA hits EO 484 on sugar

THE multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FTA) expressed dismay on the recent Executive Order No.484 reducing the ASEAN Free Trade Area – Common Effective Preferential Tariff (AFTA – CEPT) of sugar from 48% to 38%. According to FTA, the country should resist any further tariff reduction in any sector because of the unilateral tariff liberalization the country adopted in the l980s and l990s.

“Because of the unilateral and accelerated trade liberalization, the Philippines is one of the few nations in the world which have managed to discriminate against its own domestic producers by lowering the tariffs and the levels of protection for locally-produced products way below its Asian and other global competitors such as Thailand, Indonesia, China and so on,” FTA said in a statement.

FTA challenge the government to first be decisive in recognizing the liberalization mistakes made in the last two and half decades under a narrow neo-liberal development framework and instituting the necessary corrective measures.

FTA appeals to our government to stop this recklessness of issuing EOs after EOs reducing the tariff rates of local industries and agriculture without a clear development framework in place. According to FTA, the government should instead re-calibrate the present tariff rates with a clear vision and program of reviving, reinvigorating and modernizing Philippine industry and agriculture to make them at par with the best in Asia and the world.

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