October 8, 2003



China Ban Certain Animals & Products from the Philippines


Philippines Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II urged the Department of Agriculture to take appropriate action regarding a ban currently imposed by Hong Kong on the importation of certain Philippine animal and its products.


A report from the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Hong Kong said China, through its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, has listed countries with infectious animal diseases.


In her report to Roxas, PTIC-HK trade assistant Carmela Panes said the list included the Philippines whose animals are supposedly infected by the foot-and-mouth disease. As such, meat and meat products from the Philippines have been banned from entering China.


"The concerned government agencies should immediately act on resolving the FMD problem in affected areas of the country so our aggressive food exporters can already take advantage of penetrating the very huge China market," he said.


Roxas said the DA-Bureau of Animal Industry should take appropriate action to investigate, study and report the condition of the domestic animals in the Philippines.


The list was compiled based on the ban notices and bilateral protocols announced by Hong Kong's inspection and quarantine agencies in the past years.


Hong Kong and China were among countries that were hit the hardest by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which has been suspected of emanating from animals, thus making them impose stricter quarantine rules and meat bans.


But Roxas clarified that local exporters of meat and poultry products can still make shipments to China as there are still specific areas in the country that are FMD-free.


The World Organization for Animal Health has recognized FMD-free areas in the country, namely, Mindanao, Visayas, Palawan and Masbate.


Moreover, Chapter 60 of the Import and Export Ordinance issued by the HKSAR Food and Environmental Hygiene Department also indicated that in some countries, only certain specified areas are banned for importing meat and poultry into China.


The ordinance further stated that if any importer wishes to import meat or poultry originating from the nonspecified areas of the countries concerned, they are required effective Oct. 6, to produce the relevant health certificate for the inspection of the HKSAR.


Roxas noted that although the country has not significantly exported meat and poultry products to China, the shipment of these products are expected to increase notably with China's continuing reforms in its liberalization policies.


Last year, China reduced tariffs on some key Philippine products like canned tuna, fruits, vegetable fats and oil, coconut milk, clothes, electronic calculating machines, sound and video tapes, magnetic discs and paper and paper products.


"With its accession to the World Trade Organization, China will likely make reductions in other products, including food products like hilled frozen meats. It is now therefore up to us to compete and supply China's import needs," Roxas said.


Last year, China ranked 9th as the Philippines' largest trading partner, accounting for 3.77% or $2.58 billion total trade. China was the Philippines' ninth biggest export market and seventh biggest supplier of imports in 2002 accounting for 3.86 percent of export receipts and 3.68% of imports, respectively.
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