MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Challenges facing the animal feed industry and a memorandum of understanding between the US Grains Council (USGC) and Mariano Marcos State University focused on best practices in biofuels have was among the highlights of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to the Philippines.
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Daniel Whitley led the 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, seeking to strengthen trade relations and further expand export opportunities.
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 approximately $3.8 billion worth of US agricultural products this year, an increase of 8%.
“The main objectives were to produce mutually beneficial results 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.
Among the issues the delegation focused on were:
- 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.
- Signing of a memorandum of understanding between the USGC and Mariano Marcos State University to facilitate the exchange of best practices related to the biofuels industry and policy development.
- 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.
- Seek lower food tariffs, which would help ease the burden of inflation and allow people to spend money in other sectors of the economy.
- 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.
- The strong partnership between the United States and the Philippines, especially in these times of uncertainty and high inflation.
International trade missions are an integral part of FAS’s international marketing efforts, providing U.S. exporters a unique opportunity to build face-to-face relationships with potential buyers, learn first-hand about the market from industry experts and trade FAS, and ultimately to generate sales for their businesses. .
Trade mission participants to the Philippines reported nearly $1 million in on-site sales and $7.25 million in forecast sales over 12 months.