PHILIPPINES AND AUSTRALIA DISCUSS AGRICULTURE TRADE AND COOPERATION
(L-R) Mr Paul Ross, General Manager Bilateral Trade,
Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry; Australian Ambassador Rod Smith; the Hon
Proceso J. Alcala, Philippine Secretary for Agriculture;
and Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano, during the
opening of the Philippines-Australia Agriculture Forum.
Agricultural cooperation and trade between Australia and the Philippines was discussed in the inaugural Philippines Australia Agriculture Forum held in Manila on 28 April.
In his opening remarks to the Forum, the Hon Proceso J. Alcala, Philippine Secretary for Agriculture, noted that the meeting was an important mechanism for further promoting agricultural trade and investment between Australia and the Philippines.
“Increasing agricultural trade and investment between our two countries will build prosperity in both Australia and the Philippines”, Secretary Alcala said.
Discussions were substantial, covering the impact of climate change on agriculture, food security, market access and agriculture cooperation. Both sides expressed a strong commitment to continue working together to maximise opportunities for trade, building on the entry into force of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement in 2010.
The meeting reviewed the wide range of agricultural research and development activities being supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australian Agency for International Development in the Philippines, and discussed new areas of potential cooperation.
Secretary Alcala said “the Philippines has now won the war against the dreaded foot and mouth disease”, citing this as an example of successful cooperation between the two countries.
Acknowledging both countries’ shared interests as agricultural exporters and members of the Cairns Group, the Philippines and Australia also reiterated their strong commitment to concluding the WTO Doha Round in 2011.
“Concluding the Doha Round would be an important boost to world trade, including agriculture exports from both Australia and the Philippines”, said Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith.
The discussions were chaired by Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano and included senior representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Food Authority, National Dairy Authority, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Plant Industry, National Meat Inspection Service, Livestock Development Council, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Research and Bureau of Agricultural Research. Australia was represented by senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Embassy Manila.
It was agreed that the next meeting of the Forum would be held in Australia in 2012.