• US-grown vegetables soon available in local markets

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    The Philippines has formally lifted the import restriction on temperate- climate vegetables from the United States.

    The US Embassy in Manila said celery, lettuce and other such vegetables will be available soon in local markets as a result of an agreement between Manila and Washington on sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) for the commodities.

    “This exciting development will relieve shortages and deepen agricultural ties between the two nations,” the embassy said in statement over the weekend.

    The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) would only allow fresh vegetable shipments that have US-Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service certificate, the statement said.

    “This is to verify that the shipments meet all the stipulations of the Plant Quarantine SPS Import Clearance. As with all fresh vegetable trade, importers will be required to obtain an SPS Import Permit from the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry,” the US Embassy said.

    American producers previously enjoyed only limited access to the Philippine vegetable market, exporting $57,000 of such products (mostly celery) in 2013.

    Trade experts predict that open-market access will help sales reach $1 million within two years.

    “Such commerce will be an asset to the burgeoning food service and retail sectors in the Philippines,” the embassy said.

    Temperate-climate vegetables are usually difficult to grow locally and, when available, are especially scarce during the rainy season in the Philippines.

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