Indonesia opens market to PH agri products

Indonesia is easing restrictions on Philippine agriculture products such as coconut products, banana, onion, and tobacco, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

The commitment was announced by Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita following recent bilateral talks between the Philippines and Indonesia, Piñol said in a post on his social media page.

“The Philippines has long complained against the restrictive trade policies of Indonesia which [have] resulted in a huge trade imbalance of $5.8 billion in favor of Indonesia,” Piñol said.

He said Lukita submitted to the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) two documents “which now clear the way for the export of banana and [shallots] to Indonesia.”

The documents also include a notice removing the anti-dumping measure against Philippine bananas; recognition of Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, and Central Mindanao as pest-free areas for the production of bananas; and recognition of Nueva Ecija, Ilocos, and Mindoro as pest-free areas for shallot/onion production.

Another document accredits three testing laboratories for fresh food from the Philippines.

“Minister Lukita said that with these documents, the Philippines can now start exporting bananas and onion to Indonesia,” Piñol said.

Lukita also announced that Indonesia will adopt a policy of first sourcing products they need from the Philippines, the DA chief added.

The Philippines used to sell shallots and tobacco to Indonesia until the latter closed its market to products from the Philippines.

The agricultural chief said Lukita also pledged to work on the request of the Philippines to allow the export of poultry products and poultry feeds to Indonesia.

The two sides also agreed to form a technical working group to work on the issue of oversupply of Indonesian palm oil to the Philippines, which Piñol said has resulted in a drop in the price of copra.

Indonesia coffee and snacks giant PT Mayora also signed a purchase agreement for 1,000 metric tons of desiccated coconut and coconut oil from the Philippines. PT Mayora, which is known for its coffee brand Kopiko, also signed a land acquisition deal in Batangas for the establishment of a processing facility.

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