MALACAÑANG said Sunday that the quantity of Philippine exported bananas that China destroyed was too small to affect the trade relations of the two countries.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that based on the statement of Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr., the 35 metric tons of bananas that Beijing destroyed on Saturday, March 26, was equivalent only to two containers or around 2,700 boxes with value estimated at P1.4 million.
"This quantity is too small in terms of the overall Philippines-China trade relations. We surmised that the subject shipment did not meet the rigid sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) inspections of China and were rejected and destroyed routinely as part of SPS procedures to prevent contamination," he said, quoting Cristobal, in a radio invterview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
He said the quantity of bananas was not unusual as rejections were normal in the course of business.
"It is also possible that the shipment was rejected due to levels of pesticides exceeding maximum residue limit or MRL," Coloma added.
But he also said that the Palace was still waiting for the official report of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry regarding the report.
On Saturday, March 26, Customs authorities in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen destroyed 34.78 tons of bananas, worth $33,000, exported by the Philippines due to excessive pesticide use, according to China’s state-run television company CCTV.
CCTV said that carbendazim found in the bananas exceeded China’s limit on pesticide residue in food. The bananas were mashed and put in a landfill.
China and the Philippines are currently locked in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). (SDR/Sunnex)