For a number of years the Philippines worked hard to lower tariff rates, with the average weighted tariff applied falling from 22.4% in 1989 to a low of 2.6% in 2003. However, rates have begun to creep up again. The Philippines is actively considering a number of liberalisations to better align itself with the more open of its regional peers and to better integrate itself with the global economy. Whether to totally open markets or to engage in a sort of low-level managed trade is a debate raging throughout the world, especially in East Asia, and this issue is very much a part of the conversation in the Philippines.
This chapter contains interviews with Gregory Domingo, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry; Arnel Paciano D Casanova, President and CEO, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and Chairman, Philippine Investments Promotions Plan (PIPP) Steering Committee; and Stephen P Groff, Vice President for East Asia, South-east Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank.