Philippines: Banana group uses diplomacy in China issue

The Pilipino Banana growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) is attempting to improve its trade with China via diplomatic channels.

As has been widely reported over the past months, Beijing tightened phytosanitary regulations earlier this year, resulting in a loss of export for the Philippine's banana sector.

PBGEA executive director Stephen A. Antig said he had sought the help of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing on the matter.

In a letter to the ambassador Antig stated that the Philippines exports to the country were down by as much as 40%.

"It translates to a conservative estimate of $72 million (P3.02 billion) loss in revenues," Antig said in the letter.

Apparently the ambassador had earlier signalled his interest in helping to resolve this issue and wants to organise a meeting.

Antig says that, as yet, he has received no reply, but that he has heard the ambassador is open to discussion.

The PBGEA has also suggested that China sends a team to regularly check on the growing and packing of the bananas.

The association has also been attempting to secure new markets, such as the Middle East and Europe, to make up for lost market share in China.


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