US diplomat to PHL commits aid for Benguet

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg vowed to help the province combat the impending ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) implementation in 2015.

Governor Nestor Fongwan said the US ambassador pledged to support the bustling agriculture industry of the province. “I also told him about the AFTA and how it will pose as a challenge for the province,” Fongwan reported.

Goldberg received a welcome from Benguet officials during his first visit to the country’s Salad Bowl, Friday.

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Vice Governor Nelson Dangwa, as well as members of the Provincial Board, welcomed Goldberg at the Provincial Capitol in simple rites.

Goldberg expressed continued assistance to the agriculture industry and other priority projects of Benguet.

Presently, the region remains to produce 80 percent of vegetable needs of the country, with 2/3 of the population dependent on farming.

An alliance for vegetable producing areas is eyed to be formed in preparation for the ASEAN's Free Trade agreement.

The AFTA was formed by the ASEAN countries in 1993 aiming to increase ASEAN’s competitive edge in production in the world market. It will open doors for intense competition from the ten ASEAN neighbors.

The AFTA implementation will push vegetable farmers to make produce world class as markets will open globally for all nations.

Fongwan said the ambassador pledged to keep the communication ties open for the province in terms of support and aid for its various projects. (Maria Elena Catajan)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 14, 2014.

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