Group seeks RP exemption from Asean tariff regime

President Gloria Arroyo sits with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (right), Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (third from left) during the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand on Sunday.

President Gloria Arroyo sits with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (right), Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (third from left) during the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand on Sunday.

For domestic industries to fully recover from damages caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said that the government must invoke an article of the Asean

Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) that would temporarily exempt the country from the zero-tariff regime beginning next year under the Asean Free Trade Area-Common Effective Preferential Tariff (AFTA-CEPT) scheme.

In a statement over the weekend, FPI added that in a letter it sent to President Gloria Arroyo last week, the group appealed that the Philippines immediately invoke Article 23 of ATIGA, or the “Temporary Modification or Suspension of Concessions,” citing the “extreme circumstances resulting from the devastation of the recent national calamities.”

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Global Steel pushes tariff hike

But galvanizers who use flat steel as raw material for galvanized iron (GI) sheets and other finished goods opposed the move, saying they preferred to import rather than rely on Global Steel’s supply.

Global Steel is asking for the tariff on hot- and cold-rolled coils (CRC) to be raised to 15% from the current 7%, GSPI Vice-President for corporate communications Sangram Mohanty said in an interview yesterday.

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