Duterte asks US, China to end trade war

Marje Pelayo   •   June 24, 2019   •   2712

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states during the 34th ASEAN Summit plenary session at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on June 22, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

BANGKOK, Thailand – President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the United States and China to end their long-standing trade war and asked the two super powers to ‘take the high road’ and resolve their differences for the sake of global economy.

“The trade war between the United States and China is creating uncertainty. It is taking a toll on global growth. And it could hinder the ongoing processes of economic integration,” the President said in a meeting during the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok on Saturday (June 23).

Duterte added that the conflict between the two nations indeed slows down economic integration among countries.

Meanwhile, the President has also urged the ASEAN regional bloc to support the open and rules-based multilateral trading system instead of the “zero-sum approach” to international economic relations.

“We in ASEAN must strengthen our support for a rules-based and open multilateral trading system,” Duterte said before the leaders of the other member states.

“In pursuit of growth, we should be partners not competitors,” he said.

ASEAN has stepped up its efforts on the proposed free-trade agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The regional bloc targets to finalize the trade pact by November.

The agreement involves six Asia-Pacific nations – Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand – with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements.

RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade deal once approved.

President Duterte also emphasized the Philippines support to the ASEAN Single Window initiative with aims to integrate single-window systems of all ASEAN member states through electronic exchange of trade-related documents towards the establishment of cross-border trade.

Philippines to lift travel ban on 10 countries starting September 6

UNTV News   •   September 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions on travelers from 10 countries starting September 6, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced in a statement on Saturday.

These countries are namely:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Nonetheless, international travelers coming from the said countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” Roque said.

He added that the IATF has adopted the “Yellow” and “Red” classifications, in addition to the “Green List” countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Roque said this is based on the countries’ respective incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria, and testing data as secondary criteria.  The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.

The government first imposed the travel restrictions on India in April then later expanded to include more countries to stem the spread of Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19.

 

PH Embassy, ready to assist in repatriation of Filipinos amid Delta variant surge in Thailand

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes assured that Filipinos in Thailand are coping with the fresh surge of COVID-19 cases there.

During the Laging Handa Press Briefing on Friday (July 16), Paredes said the Embassy is ready to assist Filipinos in returning to the Philippines in case a travel ban is imposed against their host country.

“Nakahanda na po kami kung anoman ang magiging challenges and again ang magiging resulta nito. Alam na po ng ating Filipino community dito, gayundin ng mga airlines [dahil’ sila din ang nagmomonitor ng flow of passengers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Paredes said there were 30 Filipinos who have contracted COVID-19 in Thailand.

Of the said number, 27 already recovered, two were active cases and one succumbed to the disease just this month.

The envoy said the Embassy is already coordinating with the victim’s family.

Paredes explained that, at present, the country specifically its capital Bangkok is experiencing a third wave of infection.

“Ang pangatlong wave, it happened around March this year. Iyon po ay nakitaan ng pagpasok na ng mga variants. Nagsimula po ‘yan sa 2 high-end bars dito sa Bangkok,” she said.

“Dito po sa Bangkok, nakikitaan nila na ang around 69% [ng cases] ay Delta variant na,” she added.

Currently, Paredes said the Thai government is looking into possible cross-vaccination using available brands like AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

“Thailand PM Prayut Chan-o-cha already said na hindi siya hahadlang at mag-o-object sa mga proposals na magkaroon ng cross vaccination that would involve AstraZeneca, Pfizer,” Paredes said.

DOF orders tighter watch on rice imports following tariff cuts

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to keep a tighter watch on incoming rice imports to ensure the proper collection of taxes following the implementation of tariff rate cuts.

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III issued the directive pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 135, which mandates the temporary adjustment of tariff rates on rice imports to offset the effect on consumers of the continuous increase in the price of rice from other countries, particularly those coming from ASEAN countries, and thereby reduce inflationary pressures.

The DOF said the EO 135 would enable the country to diversify its market sources for rice and maintain the stable supply and affordable price of the cereal for Filipino consumers.

Dominguez cited India as a possible source of cheap rice imports.

“I think there will be a shift in the imports of Thai and Vietnamese rice, and Burmese (Myanmar) rice, to rice from other countries where the value is much lower. Just keep an eye on that,” Dominguez told Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero during a recent executive committee meeting.

During the meeting, Guerrero said the BOC is currently reviewing the valuation of rice shipments from Vietnam, noting that most of the imports from there were “declared with values lower than the published prevailing prices for such exports from that country.”

“We discovered that many of these importations are under a tentative assessment so we are reviewing the payments,” Guerrero said.

He said the average value of rice imports, coming mostly from Vietnam, dropped 12.7 percent to P19,312 per metric ton (MT) in May 2021, compared to P22,119 per MT in the same month last year.

The average value of rice in May was also lower than the P21,066 per MT recorded in April and P22,119 per MT in March.

Guerrero previously reported increasing tariff collections despite lower import volumes because of a steady improvement in the BOC’s valuation system.

Preliminary data showed that from January 1 to April 30, a total of 804,360MT of rice shipments worth P17 billion entered the country, representing a 9.2-percent decline from the 885,645MT valued at P16.4 billion that were imported during the same period last year.

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