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Balkan folk may soon enjoy PH fruits

By: - Reporter / @erikaINQ
/ 01:55 AM October 02, 2012

Cavendish bananas from Mindanao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Philippines is looking at Croatia as a gateway for exporting bananas, pineapples, coconut and mangoes to the Balkan region, among other places.

This was one of the areas of cooperation discussed during Monday’s subministerial meeting between officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and their Croatian counterparts.

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“We are looking at the port of Rijecka as a gateway to facilitate trade. Philippine tropical fruits have great potential in the Balkan region,” Foreign Undersecretary Linda Basilio said in her opening statement.

Basilio noted that a Philippine company, International Container Terminal Services Inc., operates a container terminal at the Croatian port.

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The DFA also discussed the possibility of deploying Filipino medical workers to Croatia.

“We are identifying the channels of communication and discussing how to intensify and deepen our mutual cooperation. We saw that there is great possibility to cooperate in shipbuilding, mining, food processing, tourism, and research and development industries,” Croatian Foreign Minister Josko Klisovic told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Defense was also one of the mutual interests between the two countries, Klisovic said.

Croatia has expressed interest in the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Croatian Defense Minister Ante Kotromanovic discussed with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin a memorandum of agreement on logistics and defense industry cooperation.

“We will definitely establish defense cooperation. Weapons produced in Croatia are up to Nato standards,” Klisovic said.

The new Croatian government, identified as “center-left” as opposed to the previous conservative rulers, was recently integrated into the European Union and is looking at establishing ties with Asian countries.

The Croatian delegation went to China before coming to the Philippines.

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Yesterday’s meeting was the second political consultation between the Philippines and Croatia, the first being in the Croatian capital Zagreb. Officials of both countries also met on the sidelines of the 19th Asean-EU ministerial meeting in April.

Klisovic said Croatia could provide technology and equipment for mining and for a light railway system. “We will identify what exactly is needed and then we will present a project.”

Klisovic said the Croatian delegation, including Ambassador Zeljko Cimbur, will also meet with President Aquino. Croatian President Ivo Josipovic intends to visit the country soon, he said.

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TAGS: Agriculture, Bananas, business, Coconut, Croatia, Europe, export, Foreign affairs, Global Nation, Mangoes, Philippines, Pineapples
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