PH, Korea sign fisheries pact

Published November 27, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government has signed its first ever fisheries cooperation with South Korea in hopes that the country can boost its agriculture exports to the East Asian Nation.

A statement showed that the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar and Minister Seong-Hyeok Moon of South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) recently signed the two countries’ first ever Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on fisheries cooperation.

The deal was in Busan, South Korea on the sidelines of the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, which was also attended by President Rodrigo Duterte. “DA is serious in its commitment to engage and strengthen bilateral relations with South Korea being one of the leading food importers in the world, requiring almost US$30-billion food imports. South Korea is one of the most lucrative markets for Philippine agri-fisheries products,” Dar said.

Under the cooperation, DA and MOF will pursue and promote scientific and technical, economic, and trade cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture.
Right now, South Korea is considered an emerging market for high-value seafood and fisheries exports.

Since 2016, exports of high-value seafood and fisheries products to South Korea is growing by an average of almost 17 percent, generating US$28-million earnings for the Philippines in 2018.

Among the major Philippine fishery exports to Korea include tuna, abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, shrimps and prawns, seaweeds and carrageenan.

Last year, DA also sealed its first agriculture cooperation with South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) during the first official visit of Duterte there.

Since then, DA said it “has been continuously collaborating with MAFRA and agri-related agencies to develop new partnership leading to projects that will bolster agricultural and rural development and facilitate market access of Philippine agricultural products.”

Before Duterte left for South Korea, a group of exporters hoped that the President will bring up anew the request of the Philippine government for South Korea to lower its tariff rates on Philippine banana.

Right now, banana shipments from the Philippines that go to South Korean markets are currently being taxed 30 percent. The country’s negotiators want this reduced to at least 5 percent, if not zero.