June 22, 2011

Philippines-New Zealand talks on dairy stalled

Discussions between the Philippines and New Zealand to develop a viable local dairy industry were stalled in favour of a new "designed" programme.


Former President Gloria Arroyo and former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap visited New Zealand in 2007 where they supposedly reached agreement on various dairy assistance programs. In return for New Zealand's assistance, the Philippines had agreed to lower tariffs on NZ dairy imports to zero.

As of 2010, the Philippines increased its New Zealand dairy imports by 47 percent amounting to 236.47 million kilograms with a total value of US$729.03 million, according to figures from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics and the National Statistics Office.

Unfortunately, since 2007, nothing has materialized out of New Zealand's offered assistance.

Following their meeting, the National Dairy Authority (NDA) learned that previous agreements reached with Yap would have to be discarded and a new programme would have to be "designed".

NDA Administrator Grace Cenas said New Zealand offered to send over a "design team" to draw up a similar three-dairy zone program previously discussed with Yap.

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