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No talks yet on return of Philippine bananas to Australia

It is already nearly five months since Canberra expressed its willingness to help Philippine planters ship bananas to Australia, but officials say that Manila has yet to formally signify its intention to jump-start talks on market access for Philippine bananas.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said Canberra and Manila have not held discussions to facilitate the return of Philippine bananas to Australia. Canberra has not even received any formal response from Manila regarding Australia’s import risk assessment report on Philippine bananas.

“We haven’t seen the Philippine government formally respond to that risk assessment, or any Philippine company really seeking to export bananas to Australia under that import risk assessment,” she told reporters in a news briefing in Makati City on Thursday. “If they wish to export to Australia, then there needs to be a discussion around the compliance with the import risk assessment.”

According to businessmirror.com.ph, Gorely said Canberra is open to a dialogue on “alternative measures” that would allow Filipino banana growers and exporters to comply with the phytosanitary requirements of Australia.

“We do take our quarantine very seriously. We do have a level of protection that is high and we do not deny that,” she said. “If the growers or companies want to come up with alternative measures to meet those levels, then we are always willing to consider those.”

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