USDA enters agricultural trade cooperation with the Philippines
The U.S. Department of Agriculture entered an agreement with the Philippine government June 24 to promote agricultural trade and investment between the two countries.
“We are further strengthening our agricultural and strategic partnership through increased cooperation that standardizes food safety regulations, rural development, biotechnology, and product distribution and marketing,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer in a statement.
The Philippines is a key market in Southeast Asia for U.S. agricultural exports, with sales reaching $950 million in fiscal year 2007, the highest level ever, according to the USDA. The United States remains the top food and beverage supplier to the Philippines.
At the same time, the United States is the top import market for Philippine agricultural products, with sales of more than $621 million in fiscal year 2007, including coconut oil, tropical fruits and vegetables, and sugar.
The Philippines is also the first Asian country to approve the planting of a biotechnology food crop — corn — and remains a supporter of science-based regulations in many international organizations. “The Philippines remain on schedule to commercialize genetically engineered, insect-resistant eggplant in 2009 and virus resistant papaya and nutritionally enhanced rice soon thereafter,” the USDA said.