Sunday, June 17, 2012

China lets Philippine bananas in

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - China has allowed 30 to 40 container vans of Philippine bananas into the country after earlier denying them entry for supposedly harbouring insects, the Philippine Palace said yesterday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte relayed this "little bit of good news for us'' in a press briefing at the Palace, saying the government had "progressed in resolving the phytosanitary issue'' between Manila and Beijing over the Cavendish bananas.

"We received word (on Tuesday) that 30 to 40 containers had been allowed to pass in China,'' Valte told reporters.

She said the Department of Agriculture (DA) will double check all banana exports before they leave the country.

On top of that, Valte said, the DA and its Chinese counterpart had agreed "that once the exports arrive there (China), they will be subjected to a joint inspection to quickly resolve any phytosanitary issues.''

She said the DA and other agencies were discussing short-term measures to help out the banana industry which is reeling from import restrictions imposed by China after the Spratlys issue blew up.

Valte said she was not at liberty to divulge the measures being discussed.

Asked if the government continued to look for other markets for Philippine bananas, she replied in the affirmative.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier suggested banana growers to look for other markets after China imposed restrictions.

China imports 30 per cent of the bananas the Philippines produces.

At least 1,500 container vans of Philippine bananas were held for inspection in major Chinese ports including Dailian, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing and Qingdao after insects were supposedly found in the fruit