Manila is urging Brasilia to reduce the hefty tariff it slaps on local coconut products to boost the Philippines’s “competitiveness” in the Brazilian market.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said its high-ranking officials met with Brazilian diplomats to discuss agricultural cooperation between the Philippines and Brazil. The discussions included Manila’s request to lower Brazil’s 55 percent tariff on Philippine coconut and coconut-related products.
“Desiccated coconuts, coconut water and concentrates, virgin coconut oil, and fractions of unrefined coconut oil are among the top ten Philippine export products to Brazil,” the DA said in a recent statement.
The value of the Philippines’s total exports of coconut products to Brazil last year declined by 30 percent year-on-year to $5.041 million.
In terms of volume, shipments of coconut products to Brazil plunged by 46.27 percent to 2.224 million kilograms from 4.14 million kg in 2020, based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.
PSA data showed that some of the country’s exports to Brazil last year were electronic products ($137.766 million), chemicals ($12.119 million) and seaweeds ($9.737 million).
Shipments of Philippine products to Brazil reached $191.290 million last year, 18.3 percent higher than the $161.712 million recorded in 2020.
During the meeting, Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban expressed to Brazilian Ambassador Jose Maria de Souza e Silva the Philippines’s intent to export fishery products and to import porcine meal and sexed riverine buffalo sperm from Brazil.
For his part, de Souza sought for the creation of a “model system” of inspecting meat and meat products from Brazil to the Philippines that would allow the former to be “co-responsible” with the quality and standards of the shipments, making the whole process “more flexible” and “more agile.”
“A joint team consisting of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) and the Philippines’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) shall be created to study processes and procedures to adopt in order to maintain a dynamic Philippines-Brazil relation in agriculture,” the DA said.
Brazil has been the country’s top poultry meat supplier, particularly for mechanically deboned meat (MDM), which is a primary raw material used by local meat processors to manufacture products like hot dogs and canned meat goods.
The country’s exports of coconut products last year expanded by 58.7 percent to a 4-year high of nearly $2 billion from $1.23 billion in 2020, according to data from the PSA.
PSA data indicated that coconut oil led all coconut products in terms of total export value last year at $1.443 billion, which was 60.5 percent higher than the $898.995 million recorded in 2020.
Historical PSA data showed that the value of coconut oil in 2021 was the highest since 2017, when it reached $1.614 billion.
This is also the first time since 2019 that export receipts from coconut oil amounted to at least $1 billion. The country’s value of coconut exports in 2019 reached $932.044 million.
Aside from coconut oil, the value of other coconut-based products, such as desiccated coconut and copra meal, posted double-digit growth rates.
The value of desiccated coconut exports last year rose by 52.2 percent to $396.96 million from $260.74 million in 2020 while shipments of copra meal/cake grew by 50.6 percent year-on-year to $66.56 million.
PSA data also showed that shipments of other coconut products went up by 72.5 percent to $45.12 million last year from $26.16 million in 2020.
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