THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) to collaborate in fisheries management and trade.

In a statement, the DA said that the collaboration covers scientific and technical, economic and trade cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture.

“The Philippine-Korea bilateral on fisheries is expected to boost the collaboration between the two countries for the mutual benefit of its fishery sectors by enhancing cooperation in aquaculture and fisheries, and promoting fisheries trade and fishery-business investment,” it said.

The agreement was signed by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and MOF Minister Moon Seong-hyeok on Nov. 26 in Busan. The signing took place on the sidelines of is one of the 2019 commemorative summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with South Korea, which took place on Nov. 25-26.

The agreement follows the 2018 agriculture cooperation deal signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) during his official visit to Seoul.

Mr. Dar said the department has been seeking to improve market access of Philippine agricultural products to South Korea.

“DA is serious in its commitment to engage and strengthen bilateral relations with South Korea being one of the leading food importers in the world, requiring almost $30 billion food imports. South Korea is one of the most lucrative markets for Philippine agri-fisheries products,” Mr. Dar said.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), exports to South Korea hit $275.20 million in August. In the eight months to August, exports totaled $2.033 billion, up 22%, year-on-year.

The country’s major fishery exports to South Korea include tuna, abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, shrimp, prawn, seaweed, and carrageenan. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang