WASHINGTON, June 24, 2008 –Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today signed a memorandum of agreement with Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap to promote agricultural trade and investment between the two countries. The objective is to advance agricultural cooperation, productivity and sustainable natural resource management through science and technology collaboration. In addition to the memorandum, USDA will sponsor a trade and investment mission to the Philippines sometime in the fall.
"The Philippines and the United States share broad economic ties and a profound commitment to democracy," said Schafer. "We are further strengthening our agricultural and strategic partnership through increased cooperation that standardizes food safety regulations, rural development, biotechnology, and product distribution and marketing. We are very pleased to recognize the friendship that continues to grow between our two countries."
The Philippines is a key market in Southeast Asia for U.S. agricultural exports, with sales reaching over $950 million in fiscal year 2007, the highest level ever. The United States remains the top food and beverage supplier to the Philippines. At the same time, the United States is the number one market for Filipino agricultural products, with sales for more than $621 million in fiscal year 2007, including coconut oil, tropical fruits and vegetables and sugar.
The Philippines is the first Asian country to approve the planting of a biotechnology food crop—corn—and remains a consistent supporter of rational, science-based regulations in many international bodies. The Philippines remain on schedule to commercialize genetically engineered, insect-resistant eggplant in 2009 and virus-resistant papaya and nutritionally-enhanced rice soon thereafter.
Release No. 0164.08 Contact:
FAS PR 0100-08
Harold Kanarek (202) 720-0328
Keith Williams (202) 720-4623