Philippine government to support banana exports to Australia

The Department of Agriculture has promised to help facilitate the entry of Philippine bananas onto the Australian market, which has been closed to Filipino exporters for more than two decades. Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he would be willing to broker a meeting between Filipino banana exporters belonging to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association and Australian officials. quoted him as saying: “The possible reopening of the Australian market is a welcome development for us and for me. I find it unfair that the Philippines buy beef and other meat products from Australia, when our local products could not enter their market.”

The Filipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association has certainly showed its interest to export bananas to Australia after that nation’s ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely, said Canberra is willing to cooperate. During a BusinessMirror Coffee Club forum last month, Gorely said her government is willing to assist exporters comply with the Australian animal health and plant regulations so they can again access the Australian market. However, she added that no Philippine exporter has approached Canberra, signifying an interest to ship bananas to Australia.

Gorely claims that Filipino exporters prioritize Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea, where they have a bigger share compared to Australia where banana production is sufficient to meet domestic demand.

In 2002, Manila filed a complaint against Australia at the World Trade Organization for its de facto ban on Philippine bananas. Manila argued that Philippine bananas were no threat to Australian bananas because they were not intended to fulfil Australia’s entire demand. To date, the dispute has yet to be resolved.

Publication date: 2/27/2018