logo logo

’Only tuna industry will benefit from EU-PH trade deal’

’Only tuna industry will benefit from EU-PH trade deal’

By Cai Ordinario

22 September 2012

MANILA, Philippines - If the government pursues a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Euopean Union (EU), only the tuna industry is bound to benefit from it.

Dr. Roehlano M. Briones of the state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said in a statement issued by Philexport that the farm sector will gain almost nothing from an FTA with the EU.

Briones said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is already preparing the position of the country in future talks with EU trade negotiators.

"You have to look somewhere else to find substantial benefits. The real action is in fisheries," Briones said.

Another senior research fellow of PIDS, Dr. Danilo Israel, said an FTA with Europe will be a boost to the tuna sector since tuna shipments from the Philippines are slapped with a high 24% tariff in Europe.

If under the FTA, the Philippines will be treated the same way as former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions, the tuna tariff will significantly decline to zero.

These countries, which were former colonies of member countries of EU, enjoy zero tariff on their tuna exports to that economic bloc. This is not a privilege that is shared by the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years. -