THE Japanese government has promised to fast track the processing of documents and requirements on banana tariffs and market access of Philippine agricultural products.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Takamuri Yoshikawa, Japan’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, made the promise during their one-on-one engagement in the MAFF headquarters in Tokyo the other day.
The meeting came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a friendly bilateral engagement in Japan.
“The Japanese government appeared to have softened on long-standing issues on banana tariffs and market access for Philippine agricultural products, including Avocado. The meeting was a surprise development as Japan is known for its stringent protocols on official engagements and it normally takes months before meetings could be arranged,” Piñol said.
Piñol added that among the issues raised in the meeting include the request of the Philippines for lower tariff on Cavendish banana exported to Japan from 8- 18% to zero tariff; and the fast tracking of the market access of Philippine avocado.