MALACAÑANG on Easter Sunday shrugged off reports on China’s alleded destruction of 35 tons of bananas exported by the Philippines, saying the quantity of the goods involved was “too small.”
In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the incident, if true, will not affect the sound trade relations between Manila and Beijing.
Quoting Trade and Industry Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr., the Palace official explained that local banana exporters were not in any way threatened by the supposed action by the Chinese government.
“This quantity is too small in terms of the overall Philippines-China trade relations,” Coloma said.
He explained that under the World Trade Organization, countries must pass each other’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) inspection before accepting imported agricultural products.
“We surmised that the subject shipment did not meet the rigid sanitary and phytosanitary inspections of China and were rejected and destroyed routinely as part of SPS procedures to prevent contamination,” Coloma stressed, again citing Cristobal’s report.
“The quantity is not unusual in as far as rejections are concerned in the normal course of business. It is also possible that the shipment was rejected due to levels of pesticides exceeding maximum residue limit or MRL,” Coloma pointed out.
JOEL M. SY EGCO