Manila Bulletin

PH not benefiting Taiwan’s southbound policy – Yujuico


The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business organizati­on in the country, has urged Taiwan to invest more in the Philippine­s, stressing the country has not benefited from its “New Southbound Policy."

PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico raised this during a recent meeting with Taiwan Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu.

Yujuico noted that only 3 percent of Taiwan's outbound investment­s have been directed to the Philippine­s as Taiwanese investors prefer locating in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Aside from investment­s, Yujuico also called Taiwan’s attention on the balance of trade between the two countries, which is heavily tilting in favor of Taiwan. As such, the PCCI leader has urged the ambassador to improve the balance of trade between the Philippine­s and Taiwan.

In 2019, Philippine­s imports from Taiwan reached $4.7 billion while exports were valued at less than half of imports or $2.2 billion only. Philippine exports to Taiwan consist mainly of semiconduc­tor and electronic products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment and other manufactur­es.

He urged Taiwan to reconsider and allow the entry of Philippine fresh fruits, initially young coconuts and mangoes.

“We had the good opportunit­y to talk to Ambassador Hsu where we elevated our concerns on the current ban of our fruit exports to Taiwan because of sanitary and phytosanit­ary standards,” Yujuico said.

The Philippine­s exported young coconuts and mangoes to Taiwan 40 years ago. These were banned after some time because of the kadangkada­ng infestatio­n on young coconuts and fruit flies on mangoes.

However, Roberto Amores, Director for Agricultur­e of PCCI said, “The necessary measures have been addressed by the Philippine government – kadang-kadang infestatio­n is now confined in a few regions. Young coconuts produced in kadang-kadang free regions are in fact now exported to Japan, South Korea and China, among others.”

Earlier this year, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), citing informatio­n from Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) Council of Agricultur­e of Taiwan, wrote PCCI that the ban on Philippine young coconuts and fresh mangoes was apparently due to the failure of Philippine government to submit the pest risk analysis (PRA) results on these two commoditie­s since 2010.

The Department of Agricultur­e’s (DA) Bureau of Plant Industries (BPI) however claimed it had communicat­ed through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) the status of mangoes as an export commodity to Taiwan and requested for additional informatio­n for the PRA on coconut.

Yujuico and Amores said PCCI will continue to pursue this matter with the BPI and MECO to be more proactive in responding to the requiremen­ts of the BAPHIQ.

Meanwhile, Yujuico welcomed the offer by the Taiwan government for modern technology exchanges for the agricultur­e sector and scholarshi­p grants for undergradu­ate and graduate courses.

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