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PH plans to impose safeguard duties on Thailand’s products

The Philippines is preparing to impose safeguard duties on certain products from Thailand to pressure the fellow Southeast Asian country to cooperate on the decade-long issue on cigarette taxes.

Some 37 tariff lines from Thailand stand to lose concessions and may be subjected to higher duties, the Tariff Commission said Wednesday.

The TC said it would convene stakeholders for comments by the end of January to determine the level of safeguard tariffs to be slapped on each tariff line in the list.

The list includes maize; semi-milled or wholly-milled rice; soya bean oil and its fractions; mixed condiments and mixed seasoning; non-dairy creamer; white cement; lubricating oils; medicaments; monosodium glutamate; face or skin creams and lotions; hair preparations; dentrifices; polyethylene; plastic chemical derivatives of natural rubber; and plastic supplementary system of feeding for babies.

It also includes new rubber pneumatic tires; rubber grommets and covers for automotive wiring harnesses; unornamented boards, sheets, panels or tiles of plaster; semi-finished iron products or non-alloy steel; refined copper wire; air conditioning machines with refrigeration unit; combined refrigerator-freezer; combined thresher-harvester; machine parts and mechanical appliances with individual functions.

Others in the list are ball or roller bearings; electric motors with output of less than or equal to 37.5 watts; electronic integrated circuits, other than processors and controllers, memories and amplifiers; part of electronic integrated circuits; shielded wire used for automotive wiring harnesses; not fitted with connectors; and agricultural tractors.

Also affected are motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, excluding vehicles with 10- seater capacity or more; vehicles for food transport; fuel tanks and other parts and accessories of motor vehicles; and parts and accessories of motors vehicles.

The list will be subjected for suspension of concessions in relation to the dispute case “Thailand - Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines” docketed as DS 371 before the dispute settlement board of the World Trade Organization.

The Philippines said it sent letters to the Dispute Settlement Body to end the decade-long dispute on the $594-million overtaxing case by Thailand on cigarette imports from the Philippines.

The Philippine delegation to the WTO earlier said while the Philippines was open to a constructive solution to the issues, it asserted it was fully within its rights to seek recourse under Article 22.2 of the dispute settlement understanding, or the compensation and suspension of concessions.

The team noted a provision in the DSU that the DSB should grant authorization to suspend concessions or other obligations unless the DSB decides by consensus to reject the request. It said if there were objections to suspension, the case should be referred to arbitration.

The WTO ruled in 2011 that Thailand should correct the trade malpractice it subjected the Philippines and Philip Morris Thailand.

Topics: Thailand products , Southeast Asia , cigarette taxes , Tariff Commission

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