The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business organization in the country, has urged Taiwan to invest more in the Philippines, stressing the country has not benefitted from its “New Southbound Policy”.
PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico raised this during a recent meeting with Taiwan Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu.
Yujuico noted that only 3 percent of Taiwan’s outbound investments have been directed to the Philippines as Taiwanese investors prefer locating in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Aside from investments, Yujuico also called Taiwan’s attention on the balance of trade between the two countries, which is heavily tilting in favor of Taiwan. As such, the PCCI leader has urged the ambassador to improve the balance of trade between the Philippines and Taiwan.
In 2019, Philippines imports from Taiwan reached $4.7 billion while exports were valued at less than half of imports or $2.2 billion only. Philippine exports to Taiwan consist mainly of semiconductor and electronic products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment and other manufactures.
He urged Taiwan to reconsider and allow the entry of Philippine fresh fruits, initially young coconuts and mangoes.
“We had the good opportunity to talk to Ambassador Hsu where we elevated our concerns on the current ban of our fruit exports to Taiwan because of sanitary and phytosanitary standards,” Yujuico said.
The Philippines exported young coconuts and mangoes to Taiwan 40 years ago. These were banned after some time because of the kadang-kadang infestation on young coconuts and fruit flies on mangoes.
However, Roberto Amores, Director for Agriculture of PCCI said, “The necessary measures have been addressed by the Philippine government – kadang-kadang infestation is now confined in a few regions. Young coconuts produced in kadang-kadang free regions are in fact now exported to Japan, South Korea and China, among others.”
Earlier this year, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), citing information from Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) Council of Agriculture of Taiwan, wrote PCCI that the ban on Philippine young coconuts and fresh mangoes was apparently due to the failure of Philippine government to submit the pest risk analysis (PRA) results on these two commodities since 2010.
The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Plant Industries (BPI) however claimed it had communicated through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) the status of mangoes as an export commodity to Taiwan and requested for additional information for the PRA on coconut.
Yujuico and Amores said PCCI will continue to pursue this matter with the BPI and MECO to be more proactive in responding to the requirements of the BAPHIQ.
Meanwhile, Yujuico welcomed the offer by the Taiwan government for modern technology exchanges for the agriculture sector and scholarship grants for undergraduate and graduate courses.