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Reducing tariffs on 33 goods: What the RCEP means for Philippine imports

The Philippines’ draft executive order to implement the country’s tariff commitments in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has excluded 105 sensitive and highly sensitive agricultural tariff lines from any tariff concession.

The draft EO, presented by Trade Secretary Fred Pascual to the National Economic and Development Authority Board on April 20, 2023, aims to maintain preferential tariffs on 98.1% of 1,718 tariff lines and 82.7% of 8,102 industrial tariff lines. Pascual confirmed that the rates on 1,685 agricultural tariff lines will be retained, while 1,426 tariff lines will maintain a zero tariff rate, and 154
agricultural tariff lines will maintain the most favored nation rates.

The remaining 33 lines, which refer to products not produced in large amounts in the country, will have reduced tariff rates.

The draft EO is set to take effect by June 2, after the Philippines submitted its instrument of ratification to the RCEP on April 3.

The RCEP will open up the country to goods and services from other RCEP countries.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported a trade deficit of $9.6 billion in the first two months of the year, with the country importing more than it is exporting.

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