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Philippines mulls filing trade complaint against Australia


November 10, 2008

Philippines mulls filing trade complaint against Australia
Manila may file an international trade complaint against Canberra if it fails to submit an import risk report covering Philippine bananas, a local media quoted an agriculture official as saying last week.

The Bureau of Plant and Animal Industry (BPI) may draft another formal complaint against Biosecurity Australia, a state-led agency which sets rules on food imports, if it reneges on its promise to submit its import risk assessment (IRA) of local bananas, the GMA News quoted BPI director Joel Rudinas as saying.

Biosecurity Australia said it was going to “publish the result by the second quarter so the agency is keeping a tight watch on their website," Rudinas said. “If this again fails, we may now draft a complaint and file the same before the World Trade Organization."

According to Rudinas, Australia commited to submit and finalize its report on Philippine bananas last year, after a delay of nearly ten years.

Besides involving a pest risk analysis, the IRA also measures the impact of imported food—in this case, bananas—on Australia’s economy.

In 2000, Manila began to file a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Canberra after the latter refused access to fresh pineapples and bananas from the Philippines.

The complaint was issued after Australia imposed quarantine measures that allegedly blocked Philippine bananas and pineapples, which have been—and are currently being—exported to Japan and the US. The US and Japan, the world’s largest and second-largest economy respectively, have rigid food import safety standards.

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