US groups urge PH gov’t to reduce trade barriers

By , on November 10, 2014

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MANILA – Thirteen industry associations in the United States are urging the government to lift high tariffs and taxes, reduce foreign ownership restrictions, and strengthen intellectual property rights protection because these barriers continue to prevent the entry of more investments in the country.

The groups that raised the need for a more relax market access include the National Association of Manufacturers, National Potato Council, American Insurance Association, Motion Picture Association of America, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Inc., International Intellectual Property Alliance, American Potato Trade Alliance, Toy Industry Association Inc., US Grains Council, Western Growers, Herbalife and Wine Institute.

The comments submitted by the groups were compiled in time for the 2015 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

For instance, the National Association of Manufacturers already sought restrictions to investments in the country.

On the other hand, the US Grains Council requested for the abolishment of the National Food Authority (NFA) and allow private traders to do the importation.

“The country’s agribusiness sector is dominated by oligopolies whose private interests are intertwined with special interest groups and close ties with the government,” the US Grains Council said.

Both the American Potato Trade Alliance and National Potato Council are looking at eliminating the 10 percent tariff on imported frozen fries and 40 percent duty on fresh potatoes, while Western Growers said that tariffs in the country remain “unreasonably high, limiting market access for many US fresh vegetables, fruit and tree nuts.”

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said that retail and street piracy has affected the home entertainment market in the country. MPAA also noted that taxes imposed on film companies were high

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said that US-based pharmaceutical firms continue to be burdened with intellectual property concerns and market access related to legislative proposals on cost-sharing for discounted medicines for both individuals with disabilities and senior citizens.

The Distilled Spirits Council wants to forego tariffs on imported distilled spirits. Global nutrition company Herbalife said that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration has a lengthy process in registering products