MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is proposing to impose an additional 5-percent tariff on all imports to generate funds for the government for its activities related to its fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told trade reporters that imposing an additional 5-percent tariff across-the-board would generate around PHP245 billion based on the country’s average import value between 2016 and 2018.
But Rodolfo admitted that concerns were raised about the proposal, including the country’s commitments in international trade agreements and the impact of the additional tariff on inflation.
“We will put (a) 5-percent tariff on all products so we can’t be accused as protectionist. We are not targeting any products to be protected. It’s really across-the-board because we really need to raise money for our Covid-related activities,” he said.
He added other countries have even imposed export bans for critical products during the pandemic.
“Some of our trading partners, their approach is (an) export ban. So they deprive other countries of capabilities, they deprive partners of their countries’ capability [for] critical products that partners also need. We did not do that,” the trade official said.
Rodolfo said it will have a little inflationary impact since it is only an additional 5-percent tariff.
Based on the discussion with the Department of Finance (DOF), he said the DOF will be studying the proposal.
He added that according to the DOF, it does not see urgency at this time to implement additional tariffs on imports as a fundraiser for the government’s Covid-19 response.
Rodolfo further said the Technical Committee-Tariff Related Matters will conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the proposal, particularly looking at the impact of cost on businesses and inflation for consumers versus the revenue generation from the tariff increase. (IA/PNA)