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PH tries to stay as top banana supplier of South Korea

Philippine bananas sweeter.

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has renewed its request to South Korea to lower its 30 percent tariff on Philippine banana in a bid to stay as the top supplier of the fruit to the Korean market.

“[We] renewed [our] request to lower tariff on our banana exports for greater market access in South Korea,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said, according to PNA. “We are still the largest supplier of banana to South Korea, over 85 percent [market share], but other countries [are] trying to increase [their] supply.”

Lopez said he met his South Korean counterpart and they discussed entering into either a preferential trade agreement or ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement.

South Korea’s trade agreements with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Vietnam imposes no duties on the seven countries’ banana exports to the Asian market starting 2021. Peruvian banana entering South Korea also don’t have tariff.

The said countries’ zero-tariff banana are expected to be favored by South Korea importers over Philippine banana raising fear to the ranks of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA).

“Cheap banana imports from Central America have started to eat into the share of Philippine bananas in the Korean market and these could totally push us out of the picture by 2022, unless we get the same zero-tariff treatment as they do,” PNA quoted PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig as saying in an earlier statement.

The Philippines export yearly some 30 million boxes of bananas to South Korea. That is equivalent to 390,000 tons produce coming from 8,000 hectares of banana farm.

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