Philippine government extends tariff protection to local petrochem industry

A 6 month reprieve - by way of higher tariffs on petrochemical imports, has been offered to the domestic petrochem industry in Philippines by the Tariff and Related Matters (TRM) Committee (a cabinet-level committee), with a view to firm up plans of the country’s first-ever naphtha cracker facility. During the six-month reprieve, proponents of the proposed naphtha cracker will have to present a business case to prove why tariff protection would be good for the Philippines, particularly the local petrochemical sector. The tariff protection will be based on the evaluation of milestones submitted by the players. If not found realistic; the government will be forced to issue another EO to bring down tariff rates on petrochem imports. Duties on imported petrochem products under EO 161 would still be imposed until the government issues another EO reducing the rates under the Asean-CEPT of a range of 0% to 5%. Under EO 161, the local petrochem industry was exempted from the regionwide tariff reduction program for 2003 and 2004. The EO brought down the rates of midstream products such as polymers or resins to 10% from 15% and raised the rates on finished plastic products of downstream industries 10% from 7%. The Philippine government paid $2.54 million to Singapore last year as a form of compensation since it is a major supplier of petrochemical products in the region.
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