PH stands to lose South Korea as top export market for banana
Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said Philippines could lose South Korea as a top export destination for locally produced bananas three years from now unless tariffs are removed on this agricultural product to enable it to evenly compete with other banana exports entering this lucrative market, a statement showed.
PBGEA said this as they pressed the government anew to work out a bilateral agreement with South Korea to remove the 30-percent tariff on Philippine banana exports.
Losing the Korean market, which is among the top three destinations for Philippine banana exports, would rob 32,000 workers and over 200,000 dependents in the domestic industry of their means of livelihood.
This will also result in estimated annual export revenue losses of close to $300 million and another P6.5 billion in foregone local and national tax revenues.
“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,” said PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig.
For his part, PBGEA president Alexander Valoria pointed out that the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will benefit from zero import tariffs on the bananas they export to South Korea by 2021.
Peru is already enjoying zero tariffs on their banana exports to South Korea while Colombia will get the same treatment also three years from now.
Even Vietnam, a fellow ASEAN economy of the Philippines, will get to sell bananas to South Korea with zero tariff by 2021.