THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is set to meet with a Japanese government delegation to tackle greater access for some Philippine agricultural products to Japan.
“The first issue is the recognition of the Philippines as an FMD (foot and mouth disease)-free country, which is critical for our exports. Number two, market access for Hass avocado. Number three our request to exempt compliant exporters from 100% mandatory inspection for bananas. Number four, the tariff on bananas,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a news conference.
Mr. Piñol said that he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Minister Takamori Yoshikawa, on June 5. He also said that the recent lifting of a ban on importing of fish from the Fukushima region may have contributed to a “cordial atmosphere” during initial meetings.
“I noticed a more cordial atmosphere even in the bilaterals…” he said, noting that “the decision of the Philippines to ban the ban on fish coming from Fukushima” may have improved the atmosphere.
“I am expecting positive results,” he said.
On May 29, Mr. Piñol announced the lifting of an import ban on four fish species from Fukushima — cherry salmon, sand lance, Japanese dace, and ayu or sweetfish — after 7 years. This order was approved the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The ban was implemented in 2012 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011.
“I consider the ban, issued by the previous administration, as… an overreaction to an issue which did not really affect the Philippines,” he said in a social media post. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang