Thailand bilateral free trade with US alarms tuna industry key players

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thailand bilateral free trade with US alarms tuna industry key players

Press Release - Press Information Agency

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (21 March) — Despite the positive prospects of the tuna industry, key players are alarmed with the recent move of other countries like Thailand which is seeking bilateral free trade agreement with the US.

Domingo Teng, president of the TSP Marine Industries based in General Santos City said the US is their next big market for tuna and if Thailand gets the nod for free access, it will kill the industry.

He said while others get zero tariff, the Philippines carries 12 ½ percent on tariff for export even as he said that Thailand is very efficient and competitive in terms of export.

“It cannot be denied that they are our close competitor in accessing the market and if they get free access to the market patay na tayo,” he said.

Teng said this is really their major problem as he hinted to Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, char of the Mindanao Economic and Development Council (Medco) to help them on this concern.

He said with the convergence of the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia and the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP EAGA), they are hopeful something will be done about it.

He said that before, the tariff was at 24 percent but because of the concerted efforts of both the private and government sector which lobbied strongly for its reduction , the tariff was reduced to 12 ½ percent.

He asked Medco to take an immediate concern on this and perhaps elevate the matter to the national leadership for appropriate lobbying.