BIG  RISE  SEEN  IN  RP  FISHERY  EXPORTS  TO  EU

MANILA, FEBRUARY 27, 2007
(STAR) By Marianne V. Go - The Philippines has fulfilled the European Unionís (EU) stringent Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements for fishery and aquaculture exports to the EU.

This was announced yesterday by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap following notification by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Malcolm Sarmiento of the EUís decision.

The Philippines went through a review by the EU of its compliance with the HACCP requirements in October last year to check if the country had addressed the deficiencies noted way back in 2004.

During the October 2006 review, the EU inspection mission noted the substantial progress in terms of remedial measures required to address the deficiencies observed in 2004 on fishery and aquaculture exports to the EU.

With the positive signal from the EU, Yap expressed confidence that the countryís fish and aquaculture exports to the EU would increase.

Philippine fishery and aquaculture exports amount to between P8 billion and P10 billion a year.

Sarmiento explained that the HACCP is an international standard of food safety and quality.

The EU inspection mission, Sarmiento said, undertook a very thorough inspection of Philippine fishery practices from harvesting to processing.

The EU inspection team, Sarmiento said, even inspected the water quality of the ponds and the processing plants.

Following the favorable EU decision, Sarmiento revealed that local exporters have received increased orders for fish and aquaculture products from the Philippines.

Sarmiento emphasized that very few countries meet the EUís stringent food and safety requirements.

Sarmiento is confident that other countries such as the US, Japan, Korea, Middle East will now be interested to buy fish and aquaculture products from the Philippines.

The Philippinesí major fish and aquaculture exports are canned tuna, prawns and bangus.

Aside from hurdling the HACCP requirements, the Philippines is still asking the EU to lower its tariffs on canned tuna from the country.

The EU still imposes a 12 percent tariff on canned tuna from the Philippines while allowing duty-free importation of canned tuna from ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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