Traders: Afta is threat to local farmers-A A +A
Thursday, July 19, 2012
BUSINESSMEN in Negros Oriental expressed apprehensions in the upcoming implementation of Asean Free Trade Agreement (Afta).
Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) president Ed Du, in a forum initiated by the Philippine Information Agency held at
Bethel Guest House Thursday morning, said Afta will be implemented in 2015.
Du said the Philippines as a signatory of the Afta, in which all imported products that will enter the country have zero tariffs.
However, Du said it is beneficial to consumers since there might possibilities that prices of imported products will go down.
There will also be no smuggling since all imported products need not pay taxes to the government, he said.
“The question is can we compete with imported products?” said Du adding, “What will happen to local farmers?”
He admitted that Afta is a threat to local farmers and producers.
Du added that local agriculture products are relatively smaller in size than imported products. Likewise, imported farm products cost lesser than local agricultural goods.
In this connection, he challenged local producers to develop crops that can compete with imported products.
Du also challenged the agriculture sector to develop hybrid crops with lesser investments in a forum that was attended by local entrepreneurs, students, different government agencies, local government units, and barangay officials.
He also encouraged students to discover new technology that can help local products to be competitive not just high quality but safe.
“We need the help of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST),” Du said.
The forum was also attended by top officials of DOST-Central Visayas and local field office. (Victor L. Camion/Sunnex)