February 19, 2019
Belgium asks Philippines to reconsider blanket ban on pork imports
Belgium urged the Philippines to lift the blanket import ban it has imposed on pork products from the European country last year following an outbreak of the African swine fever.
Instead of a blanket ban, Belgian Ambassador to the Philippines Michel Goffin suggested that the Philippines restrict pork products only from affected areas in Belgium, just like Singapore and Malaysia.
"It is unfair to embargo the whole country when it was only a localized outbreak and has already been contained. It doesn't make any sense and it is against the standards [of the World Organisation for Animal Health or OIE] and even against the spirit of the World Trade Organisation", Goffin was quoted as saying by BusinessMirror.
Responding to Belgium's appeal, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo said his agency would seek more information from Brussels on the actions it has undertaken to contain ASF, including measures to ensure the safety of the Belgian animal feeds as ASF could thrive even in animal feeds and plants.
Belgian Embassy in Manila Trade Commissioner Mia Santamaria-Abela said Belgian traders have lost €4 million (US$4.53 million) due to the trade restriction.
"The Philippines is a major market; it is one of the top 5 Asian markets [for Belgium]," she said, as quoted by BusinessMirror.
The Philippines, meanwhile, recently added two more countries—Vietnam and Japan—whose pork and pork products are temporarily banned from entering its territory.
The Philippines earlier banned pork imports from Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Zambia. Ban on Belgian pork imports was imposed in October last year.