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Additional tariffs on hold for now, says DTI

Image by GREGOR from Pixabay

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has for now abandoned its plan to impose an additional 5% tariff on all import products to raise funds for government’s anti-coronavirus (COVID-19) programs.

DTI undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said this was agreed on during a Committee on Tariff and Related Matters meeting last May 22. He said there is a need to carefully study the impact of the additional tariff on business costs and on inflation versus the estimated revenue to be generated.

The Department of Finance also noted the imposition of additional tariff is not needed at this time, Rodolfo said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on May 19 said the government is eyeing the imposition of additional tariff on imported goods to generate revenues for the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: PH eyes tariffs to boost COVID war chest

Under the plan, the additional 5% import tariff would generate around P245 billion based on the country’s average import value between 2016 and 2018. It will be imposed across the board, except on petroleum products that are already subject to temporary additional 10% import duty under Executive Order No. 113 series of 2020.

Rodolfo earlier admitted there were concerns raised about the proposal as it might violate the Philippines’ commitments to international trade agreements and its impact to inflation.

Lahat ng produkto, lalagyan natin ng  (All products will be slapped a) 5% tariff. Para hindi lumabas na (so that the measure won’t come out) protectionist. Wala tayong pinipiling produkto na pinoprotektahan (We won’t choose products to protect). It’s really across-the-board because we need to raise money for our COVID-related activities,” he said, noting that the measure will have little inflationary impact.

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