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Philipinnes: Banana growers want trade pacts

The lack of bilateral agreements is blocking the attempts of local banana growers to export to non-traditional markets, the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association said Monday.

The group said Croatia and Kazakhstan had expressed interest to buy local bananas.

“We cannot sell bananas to these countries, unless we have a bilateral agreement. What they can do if they are really interested to import is to secure an import permit from their countries. The permit will allow them to import bananas from us,” association president Steve Antig said over the phone.

Croatia was formerly a part of Yugoslavia while Kazakhstan was once the second largest republic of the Soviet Union.

Kurdistan, a Middle East region, and Palau, a US protectorate have also expressed interest to buy Philippine bananas.

Middle East countries have committed to import 3.36 million boxes of Cavendish bananas in the next six months in an August trade mission.

Antig said Taiwan, Milan and the European Union had also inquired on banana imports price quotations.

“There are a lot of queries. But until such a time that we have effective bilaterals with these countries, we cannot export. We are asking the government to speed up the process,” Antig said.

Philippine banana traders are expected to start exporting to the US by the first quarter of 2013, after the US and the Philippines finalizing agreed on quarantine procedures.

The Philippines is expected to initially export bananas to US territories with defense establishments.

Last month, the US Department of Agriculture visited Davao, one of the country’s top producers of banana in Mindanao, to meet with farmers as part of the bilateral agreement.

Banana growers also plan to resume exports to Iran, one of the biggest buyers, next to China.


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