By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invited American agriculture producers and exporters to join a trade mission to the Philippines.
In a statement, the USDA said these exporters will have an opportunity to explore new business opportunities in the Philippines during the agribusiness trade mission, which will take place on April 20 to 23 this year.
“US agricultural exports to the Philippines have more than doubled over the last decade, reaching a record $3 billion in 2018, and positive consumer attitudes and a healthy business climate point to continued growth potential going forward,” said Morgan Haas, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) counselor for agricultural affairs at the US Embassy in Manila.
With the United States’ longstanding ties with the Philippines, he said, local consumers have an affinity for American brands.
“The country’s [Philippines] rapidly expanding retail, food service, and food processing sectors offer robust opportunities for US exporters looking to sell agricultural raw materials, high-value ingredients, and consumer-oriented food and beverage products,” Haas further said.
Local staff from the FAS office in Manila will arrange targeted business meetings between trade mission delegates and local companies seeking to import American food and farm products.
FAS staff and industry experts will also lead in-depth briefings and site visits to provide delegates with additional on-the-ground insights into exporting to the Philippines.
Despite the slowdown in the first three quarters, sales of US agricultural products to the Philippines have reached a record $3 billion in 2019 as shipments arrived in time for the holiday season, surpassing the previous year by 1.5 percent.
The United States is the Philippines’ largest supplier of agricultural products with a 28 percent market share.
In 2018, the Philippines ranked as the eleventh largest global market for US agricultural exports, with soybean meal, wheat, dairy products, pork and pork products, and poultry as the top five products. The top exports products were soybean meal ($884 million), wheat ($642 million), dairy ($246 million), pork ($116 million), and poultry ($110 million).
“While sales are down four percent from January to October 2019 year-on-year, FAS Manila still expects exports to reach a record $3 billion as shipments pick up ahead of the holiday season,” a data from the USDA showed earlier.
The USDA first announced early last year to bring a delegation of American farmers and ranchers to the Philippines so they could explore export opportunities here.
Each year, the marketing and trade experts from USDA’s FAS analyze and select a combination of new and growing markets that offer the best prospects for US agricultural farm and food exports.
In 2018, USDA also led trade mission in Southeast Asia and was joined by US business and state government leaders in seeking to expand agricultural export opportunities.
The mission was based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and included delegations of buyers from Malaysia and the Philippines who are interested in purchasing US farm and food products.