THE Philippines has opened its market to cattle embryos from the US, with sales estimated at $400,000 within the year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In a report, the USDA said the Philippines formally granted market access to US bovine embryos on May 19, which levelled the playing field for US exporters against their competition in Australia and Canada.

The USDA said embryo sales will go mainly to the dairy industry and to agricultural colleges and research institutions.

The report said opportunities for embryo use by the beef industry are currently limited.

However, the USDA said the Philippine market for embryos has potential over the medium term.

“Opportunities for increased sales may open up in the next two to three years with new government initiatives being implemented in an effort to expand local beef and dairy production,” the USDA said.

The USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the Philippines’ Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) have finalized the health protocols for imports of bovine embryos.

Licensed importers must secure a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) from the BAI.

“Products must not be shipped for export before the SPSIC’s issuance, yet must be shipped no later than 60 days following its issuance,” the USDA said.

The USDA said the Most Favored Nation tariff rate for bovine embryos is 1%.

“However, importers may receive a zero duty under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, subject to submission of a Certificate of Eligibility or Certificate of Accreditation, issued by the Department of Agriculture,” the USDA said.

As of January 1, the Philippines’ total cattle inventory is about 2.55 million head, the USDA estimated. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave