Govt addressing ‘regulatory issue’ on PH bananas in China
Philippine and Chinese officials are in talks to see how to resolve the problem involving banana exports to China

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Sunday, May 13, that the proper government agencies are working on the resolution of what it continues to believe to be just a trade issue over bananas with China.

Chinese authorities have refused the entry into China of some 150 containers containing Cavendish banana because of an alleged finding that fruits earlier sent by Mindanao banana growers there showed signs of disease found only in coconuts.

Davao exporters said the bananas were being left to rot at ports in Shanghai and Xingang.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan that Philippine officials are in discussions with their Chinese counterparts and that Malacañang is confident that the matter would be eventually resolved.

“Like what our officials have said, we are confident that this can be resolved, given that our banana exports passed the stringent measures in Japan. We know that this will be resolved,” Valte said.

She said that the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Bureau of Plant Industry are tackling the issue with  Chinese authorities “to see what more we can do.”

“There are reportedly certain species of insects that are supposedly found in some of the shipments and that is already being addressed by the government,” Valte said.

China has imposed stricter screening measures on Philippine bananas entering China, and has issued a travel advisory against the Philippines – moves seen as economic pressure on the Philippines due to the standoff between the two countries in Scarborough Shoal.

As for the alleged travel ban on the Philippines imposed by China on its citizens, Malacañang clarified that China has issued a “travel advisory which is normal when they feel that they have to give their citizens warning about a certain event” and not a “travel ban.”

Valte said that because of the travel advisory, the Philippines is eyeing tourists from India and Russia.

On Thursday, Chinese travel agencies announced they have canceled bookings for the Philippines, apparently in reaction to the continued standoff in Scarborough. –