The objective of the mission was to strengthen trade relations
Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley led a USDA trade mission to the Philippines, July 18-21. He was joined by representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and agricultural organizations and 10 state departments of agriculture, working together to strengthen trade relations and further expand export opportunities, according to a USDA-FAS press release.
“The primary objectives were to produce mutually beneficial outcomes to help expand trade, increase collaboration on key issues impacting agriculture in our two countries, and ultimately strengthen food security in the Philippines” , said Whitley.
Whitley and the delegation focused on:
- The strong partnership between the United States and the Philippines, especially in these times of uncertainty and high inflation.
- Seek lower food tariffs, which would help ease the burden of inflation and allow people to spend money in other sectors of the economy.
- The initiation of an African swine fever project funded by the Emerging Markets Program to control the spread of the disease as well as USDA training for Philippine Department of Agriculture officials to improve veterinary services to ensure the safety of pork and pork products.
- Help the agency better understand trade barriers that U.S. exporters face in the Philippine market, including dairy tariffs, product registration, and expiration date labeling.
- Signing of a memorandum of understanding between the US Grains Council and Mariano Marcos State University to facilitate the exchange of best practices related to the biofuels industry and policy development.
- Challenges facing the animal feed industry, including price volatility due to weather conditions, Russian invasion of Ukraine, African swine fever, highly pathogenic avian influenza and growing demand for biodiesel.
“There’s one word I came out of this mission with – reliability,” Whitley said. “We are in a very different world than we were in six months ago, and certainly five years ago. The number one criterion I see everywhere I go is business partners looking for a reliable supplier.”
“Consumers overseas consider American agriculture to be the most trusted in the world. Our exceptional quality and our efforts to meet the challenge of producing more sustainable products ensure that Filipino consumers want our world-class agriculture and food products. “, he continued. “We were thrilled to introduce all of our talented suppliers and exporters to some of the world’s best buyers in the Philippines.”
The young and rapidly growing population of the Philippines provides an opportunity to boost exports. US agricultural exports to the Philippines have averaged $3.1 billion annually over the past five years. In 2021, U.S. agricultural exports to the country hit a record $3.5 billion, up from $3.2 billion a year earlier. Recently, the USDA projected that the Philippines would purchase about $3.8 billion worth of US agricultural products this year, an increase of 8%.