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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        22  June 2011

Philippines-NZ dairy talks stall

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The Philippines negotiations with New Zealand for assistance in developing a viable local dairy industry have stalled.

During a meeting last week with New Zealand officials led by Ambassador Andrew Matheson, National Dairy Administration (NDA) head Grace Cenas said earlier efforts by former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to receive assistance from New Zealand to develop a local dairy industry would have to be discarded in favor of a new “designed” program.

Former President Arroyo and Yap had visited New Zealand in 2007 where they supposedly reached agreement on various dairy assistance programs. In return for New Zealand’s assistance, the Philippines had agreed to lower tariffs on NZ dairy imports to zero.

The Philippines, as of 2010, imported up to 47 percent of its dairy imports from New Zealand amounting to 236.47 million kilograms with a total value of US$729.03 million, according to figures from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics and the National Statistics Office.

Unfortunately, since 2007, nothing has materialized out of New Zealand’s offered assistance. Following their meeting, the NDA learned that previous agreements reached with Yap would have to be discarded and a new program would have to be “designed”.

Cenas said New Zealand offered to send over a “design team” to draw up a similar three-dairy zone program previously discussed with Yap.


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