Let PH bananas in, Dominguez tells Australia
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III urged Australia to open its market to Philippine bananas, which has been barred from the country for more than 20 years.
Dominguez, a former agriculture secretary, raised the issue in a recent meeting in Manila with Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
He said Philippine bananas are exported in many countries such as Japan, China and the Middle East.
Philippine officials have argued that Australia’s measures are inconsistent with provisions of the General Agreements on Tariff and Trade (GATT) barring countries that are signatories to the pact from imposing non-tariff trade barriers.
Bishop said the challenge for the Philippines is to comply with Australia’s strict export requirements.
Biosecurity Australia, the inspection and quarantine assessment arm of Australia’s Department of Agriculture, has long been imposing stringent phytosanitary and sanitary requirements on Philippine bananas, which has been barred from the Australian market since 1995.
These requirements include the need for Philippine banana exports to have eight leaves prior to harvest and the use of non-perforated bags for packing.
The Australian Banana Growers Council has long been opposing banana imports from the Philippines.