Philippines

We Won in Cancun!!!Time to Work for Bigger Victories

The Fifth Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico closed without unity o­n a Ministerial Declaration. The collapse of the talks is victory for the national interest. As the Stop the New Round! Coalition (SNR!) emphasized during the launch of the SNR! Caravan and SNR! Cancun Monitor o­n 9 September, it is in the best interest of the Philippines that the framework in the Cancun draft ministerial declaration is not passed. The draft declaration called for further tariff cuts in agriculture, further tariff cuts and the binding of all non-agriculture products, a quick deadline for the conclusion of negotiations in services, and the possible commencement of negotiations o­n new issues. The government’s implementation of its trade policy has devastated agriculture and industry, and government has yet to make a full accounting of these effects. The tariff review is far from being completed, and further commitments will prejudice the outcome of such review. Also, binding agreements o­n these issues will restrict the already limited national policy space of developing countries and constrain their development options.

 

SEPTEMBER 13 – Around 8,000 farmers, fishers, laborers, students, urban poor, small producers and NGO workers from the Stop the New Round! Coalition marched through downtown Manila yesterday to call o­n the Philippine government to prevent the launching of a new round of negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 

The WTO is currently holding its Fifth Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico where talks have been bogged down in the face of unprecedented solidarity over agricultural issues.

 

by Jessica Reyes-CantosChief of StaffRep. Del R. de Guzman, Lone District, Marikina city

The footwear industry should consider itself "lucky" for being o­ne of the few sectors where its products’ rate of duty remain unbound* under the current WTO rules. Except for ski boots which was the o­nly item in the footwear sector our "intelligent trade negotiators" submitted for binding at 50%, all other imported footwear can enjoy flexible tariff rates outside the tariff bindings submitted to the WTO. Indeed, submitting ski boots as the o­nly item with a bound tariff rate is a smart move, I would say, considering that the country does not produce ski boots and there is no domestic market for it. As such, importers can import all they want and we have promised not to slap a rate of duty higher than 50% for that item.

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