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globalnation / Asia & Pacific

PH seeks improved access to South Korean market for tropical fruits

globalnation / Asia & Pacific
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PH seeks improved access to South Korean market for tropical fruits

Ceferino Rodolfo - DTI photo

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo (Photo from the Department of Trade and Industry website)

The Philippines has requested for an improved market access of Philippine tropical fruits and and other products to South Korea, following a meeting held on Saturday, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said.

This was raised during the 14th Asean Economic Ministers – Republic of Korea (AEM-ROK) consultations which were held in Pasay City over the weekend.

Rodolfo said that Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed with his counterpart ways to further pursue market interests in line with the Asean-Korea Free Trade Area (FTA).

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“The Philippines, in particular, is requesting for improved market access for our exports of tropical fruits and other products of interest to Korea. Korea was receptive and will look into the Philippines’ request,” Rodolfo said.

Rodolfo, who also leads the Philippine team for the AEM meetings, said that the tropical fruits include bananas and pineapples.

This developed as merchandise exports to South Korea, as per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), went on a decline last year. In 2016, the outbound shipment of goods fell 14 percent, reaching $2.09 billion from $2.43 billion in 2015.

However, data on the first half of 2017 would suggest that the export performance has recovered. Data showed that exports to South Korea grew 28.8 percent in the first six months of the year, reaching around $1.3 billion from a little over $1 billion during the same period in 2016.

In a related development, Rodolfo also said that possible responses to the growing nuclear ambitions of North Korea was not discussed during the consultation held between the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and AEM also over the weekend.

US President Donald Trump has been mulling his country’s options amidst the consistent threats from the rogue country. These options included cutting ties with trade partners of North Korea. According to Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), the Philippines was the fifth top trade partner.

Instead, Rodolfo said the consultation with the US government agency discussed on further strengthening economic cooperation under the frameworks provided by the Asean-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement Initiatives (E3), among others. /atm

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TAGS: 14th Asean Economic Ministers consultations, Ceferino Rodolfo, South Korean tropical fruits market
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