Palace plays down China's move vs 'subpar' PH bananas

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2016 08:54 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday guaranteed that trade relations between the Philippines and China will not be affected by the Asian giant's move to destroy 34.78 tons of "substandard bananas" from Manila.

Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma explained that the quantity of the destroyed products is "too small" to affect the trade ties of the two countries.

Coloma said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) valued the 2,700 boxes of trashed products at only P1.4 million.

The Palace spokesperson added that the sanitary and phytosanitary inspection conducted by Chinese authorities in Shenzhen city Saturday was merely routine.

"The quantity is not unusual in as far as rejections are concerned in the normal course of business," he said in an interview over state-run radio dzRB.

"It is also possible that the shipment was rejected due to levels of pesticides exceeding maximum residue limit (MRL).”

China is the Philippines' fourth-biggest export market after Japan, the United States and Hong Kong. Tensions between the two countries were rising amid the South China Sea dispute.

The Philippines has brought its case against China over its South China Sea claims to the International Court of Arbitration in the Hague, and a ruling is expected in the next few months.

In March 2012, China stopped a shipment of Philippine bananas, a month before the sea spat on the Scarborough Shoal erupted, after it found pests. Since then it has imposed stringent quarantine rules on other fruit from the Philippines.

READ: 200K workers affected by PH-China banana trade issue