ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Export of Philippine fruits to China increased by 50%
Philippine fruit exports to China increased by 50 percent ever since the ban was lifted in 2016, according to an official from China's Ministry of Commerce.
In a special report by Jessica Soho, "Pivot to China," on GMA News' "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho" on Tuesday, Wu Zhengping, director general at China's Ministry of Commerce, said that the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte improved diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China.
"Last year, after the historical state visit of President Duterte to China, our two countries made a breakthrough in our political relations," Wu said. The visit helped lay a good foundation for trade and cooperation the two countries, the Chinese official noted.
Shipments of Philippine bananas and pineapples to China increased by more than 50 percent, Wu said.
During Duterte's four-day state visit to China on October 18 to 21, 2016, thirteen economic agreements were signed and $24 billion in public financing and private business deals were pledged.
China also lifted a travel advisory issued in 2014, as well as the ban on banana shipments from the Philippines.
In March 2016, customs authorities at the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen destroyed 34.78 tons of "substandard bananas" imported from the Philippines due to excessive pesticide use.
Meanwhile, Stephen Antig, executive director of Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), said that incident was inevitable in agriculture trade.
"This cannot be avoided if you're in agriculture. I believe the reason for the problem was more political than quality or economic," Antig noted.
China committed to buy $1.7 billion worth of fruits and other agricultural products from the Philippines.
This development would open doors to further trade between the two countries.
The geopolitics between China and Philippines went from bad to worse as Manila filed a case against Beijing regarding the South China Sea dispute with the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
The Philippines won the case against China last year.
On Monday, Duterte revealed that China and the Philippines may go for a joint exploration project in disputed waters.
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