President Aquino issues Executive Order modifying Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area tariff rates on agricultural products

MANILA, Nov. 11 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Executive Order (EO) No. 191, which modifies the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) tariff rates on agricultural products.

The Order, which was signed by the President last November 5, modifies the rates on “certain agricultural products under Executive Order No. 851 (S. 2009) to implement the Philippines’ AANZFTA tariff commitments relating to the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision on waiver relating to special treatment for the rice of the Philippines.”

Among the agricultural products covered by the Order are milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter; buttermilk, curdled milk and cream, yogurt, kephir; butter and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads; cheese and curd; chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa; malt extract; food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch or malt extract; and wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines.

The Philippines secured a “Special Treatment” for rice under the WTO Agreement, which temporarily permitted the country to impose quantitative restrictions in the import of rice.

The “Special Treatment” expired on June 30, 2012 but was reinstated up to June 30, 2017.

According to the Order, Section 402 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended, authorizes the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), to modify import duties (including any necessary change in classification) and other import restrictions, as required or as appropriate to carry out and promote foreign trade with other countries.

The NEDA Board approved the tariff reduction schedule during a meeting last February 16. (PNA)