Call for Removal of Tariff Reduction for Wastes from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
Japanese Citizen Groups Joint Press Release, 29 November 2006
We are citizen groups who tackle the environmental, human health, and human rights issues.
The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), singed by the Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on September 9, 2006, was approved by the Lower House and is headed for debates at the Upper House.
This bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) includes within it a list of wastes, including hazardous wastes, for which tariffs are to be eliminated. Tariff elimination is designed to, and will have the effect of, facilitating trade. Many of the wastes targeted for tariff elimination are wastes that are internationally designated wastes whose trade is meant to be strictly controlled under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Citizens and NGOs in Philippines have been protesting against the ratification of JPEPA, which triggered a growing concern within the international community over the implication of JPEPA on the environment and human health in the Philippines.
On November 27th, at the Senate of the Philippines, the chairperson of the Senate Trade and Commerce Committee called for a further discussion at a meeting with participation by all members on the pluses and minuses of JPEPA and assessment of its impact on various sectors, considering the rising concern over the possibility of JPEPA to promote imports of hazardous waste from Japan.
In the JPEPA, the Annex 1 referred to in Chapter 2: Schedules in relation to Article 18, which includes the “Schedule of the Philippines,” which indicates tariff rate quotas and other preferential tariff treatments applied to goods exported from Japan to Philippines. In the Schedule, all sorts of waste are listed as Tariff Zero Products. Examples of the waste are ash and residues containing arsenic, mercury, thallium or their mixtures; ash and residues from the incineration of municipal waste; waste pharmaceuticals; municipal waste; sewage sludge; waste organic solvents; etc. On the other hand, those wastes are not listed in the Schedule of Japan—the list of tariff rate quotas and other preferential tariff treatments applied to goods exported from the Philippines to Japan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan spares the pages of their website for JPEPA both in English and in Japanese. In English pages, they list both the Schedule of Japan and the Schedule of the Philippines. However, in Japanese pages, they list only the Schedule of Japan, which makes impossible for the majority of Japanese legislators and the public to be informed of the inclusion of hazardous waste as goods targeted for tariff reduction in exports from Japan to the Philippines. This tells us that it is likely that the negotiators and supporters of JPEPA on the side of Japan deliberately prevent the public from knowing about the JPEPA promotion of waste export from Japan to the Philippines. There was no mention of the issue of tariff elimination for waste by JPEPA at the deliberations of the Lower House. It is a critical problem if the legislators at the deliberations decided to approve the JPEPA without knowing about the wastes listed in the Annex because the Japanese version of the JPEPA didn’t have the Schedule of the Philippines.
We therefore released the Citizen Groups Joint Appeal: Call for Removal of Tariff Reduction for Wastes from the JPEPA.
We strongly believe that the Upper House deliberation should address the problems of including wastes in the list of tariff reduction products within JPEPA, and should decide to eliminate wastes from the list, in order for Japan to avoid threatening the environment and human health of developing countries by imposing a burden of dealing with waste generated in Japan and thereby alleviating the domestic waste problems. At least, it is advisable that Japan make pledge not to export waste to the Philippines at this point.
CITIZENS AGAINST CHEMICALS POLLUTION
CAMPAIGN FOR FUTURE OF FILIPINO CHILDREN (CFFC)
JUBILEE KANSAI NETWORK
BAN ASBESTOS NETWORK JAPAN
SHIMIN-SEICHOU (AN NPO FOR CITIZENS' POLICY MAKING)
BASEL ACTION NETWORK
For more information: Takeshi YASUMA (Citizens Against Chemical Pollution),
Phone +81-45-362-3123, E-mail: email@example.com
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.