FTA urges gov’t to push for higher coefficient in NAMA

THE multisectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FTA) urges the government to push for a coefficient higher than 90 in the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations.

With the adoption of the Swiss formula in the last WTO’s Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, the coefficient remains the only element open for the Philippines to preserve its policy space or flexibility in the ongoing negotiations in Geneva, FTA said.

Furthermore, if the choice of coefficient is less than 90 the Philippines will stand to lose so much flexibility on how to promote certain strategic industries needed for long-term development and how to protect its sensitive fishery sector, which affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of fisherfolks and their families.

According to FTA, with a coefficient of 30, the Philippines’ bound tariffs will be drastically reduced from 23% to 13%, thus reducing its policy space from 19% to 9% and will lock-in the country’s industrial tariffs including fisheries to a low-tariff regime. Unless higher coefficients in levels above 90 are negotiated in Geneva, the choice of the Swiss formula poses serious error and locks-in the rates set under the unilateral tariff reduction programs for the Philippines over the past decade.

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