The country continues to push for access for the country’s agricultural products to the United States, which remains the biggest market for food and agriculture. Agricultural attaché to the US, Josyline Javelosa, said the Philippines has several pending requests with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) after getting the green light for the export of bananas, mangoes and fresh young coconut.
She said, the Department of Agriculture in Manila has a pending request for okra exports to the US. Javelosa, during a luncheon discussion with visiting Filipino journalists said, “We continue to engage the USDA on market access regulations for agricultural product exports from the Philippines.”
“This will go through a long process like for bananas and mangoes it took several years…but we should be ready so when it is opened up then we have the supply to export to the US,” she added.
Javelosa explained the Philippines could be the beneficiary after Thailand lost its eligibility under a US trade preference program through the general system of preference (GSP) for several products, including okra.
Likewise, the agriculture attaché said the DA has also asked the USDA to waive the pre-inspection requirement for mangoes. “We are trying to do away with the pre-waiver inspection for mangoes because it entails more costs making our mango less competitive especially compared to mangoes coming from the nearby Mexico,” she said.
Javelosa said the Philippines has also asked the US to expand the point of entry for Philippine pineapple that is currently limited to Guam, Northern Marianas Island and the North Atlantic region.
Latest data from the US Trade Representative Office showed the US remains the top single country market for Philippine food and agricultural products, reaching $1.1 billion last year. Major food and agricultural exports to the US include tropical oils with $535 million, processed fruits and vegetables with $168 million, tree nuts with $113 million, fruits and vegetable juices with $75 million, as well as raw beet and cane sugar with $61 million.