AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Indonesia has finally opened its market to Philippine agricultural products.
These commodities include coconut products, banana, onion and tobacco.
In a Facebook post on Monday, April 1, Piñol said the Philippines has long had an issue with the restrictive trade policies of Indonesia which has resulted to a huge trade imbalance of $5.8 billion in favor of Indonesia.
In January this year, the country even decided to impose stricter trade measures against Indonesia after it latter did not open its market access. However, the recent agreement between the two countries halted the trade war and trade imbalance.
Piñol said the announcement was made by Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita during bilateral talks with the Philippines at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati.
“Lukita submitted to the Department of Agriculture two documents which now clear the way for the export of banana and shallots to Indonesia,” he said.
“The documents included a notice removing anti-dumping measure against Philippine bananas, recognition of Davao Region, Northern Mindanao and Central Mindanao as pest-free areas for the production of bananas and Nueva Ecija, Ilocos and Mindoro as pest-free areas for shallot or onion production,” he said, adding that with the documents, the Philippines can now start exporting bananas and Onion to Indonesia.
Lukita also pledged on other requests of the Philippines on exporting poultry products and poultry feeds and desiccated coconut and coconut oil which will be purchased by Indonesia coffee and snacks giant PT Mayora. Around 1,000 metric tons of desiccated coconut and coconut oil was included in the purchase agreement signed during the bilateral talks.
Piñol said Indonesia will even adopt a policy of "first sourcing products" which they need from the Philippines and another document that accredits three testing laboratories for fresh food from the Philippines.
“The Philippines used to sell shallots and Tobacco to Indonesia until the latter adopted policies which effectively closed their market to products from the Philippines,” Piñol said.