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Philippines: Bananas may suffer in China disputeTensions between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough shoal islands, may take a toll on the banana industry, according to Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association.
He says that China recently imposed tightened regulations on banana imports. Antig said that this came as a shock to the industry, which has been exporting Cavendish bananas to China for over 10 years.
China has recently rejected a shipment of bananas from the Philippines, saying that they failed quarantine tests.
However, Antig says that producers in the country use the most advanced, high technology cultivation techniques available.
"We have been very careful in shipping bananas to China and see to it that there is no problem," he said.
"We recently held meetings and shared the same apprehension that we may lose the valuable market in China as a result of the dispute over the shoal," Antig said.
He said that the Department of Trade and Industry has asked the Chinese authorities of they were planning to ban the exports altogether. He reports that the answer was that this is not happening yet.
"Anything could happen and we are keeping a close watch," he added.
China does have the right to impose stricter regulations, but Antig feels sure that it is the dupute of the shoal that is leading to these moves against bananas.
"It is only now that they become stricter or stringent," he said.
For the time being though, Chian remians the biggest custmer for Philippines Cavendish bananas. More than half of the 75 million boxes produced each year go to China. Antig said if the Philippines lost the China banana market, it would trigger the economic downfall of the banana industry.
Publication date: 5/3/2012
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