The Philippine government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), has expressed its support for the 2022–2023 Action Plan under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Cooperation.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the activities under the leadership of the Philippines – and we look forward to a favorable consideration of the projects proposed for funding under the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar in an issued statement Tuesday.
Dar expressed the country’s support during the 7th ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on SPS Cooperation held on September 13, 2021.
The Philippine-led activities are in the following areas: 1) exchange visits of relevant personnel to learn the best practices in quarantine operations in seaports and airports; 2) training on the effective harmonization of good laboratory practices; 3) training on animal disease diagnosis; and 4) collaborative research on plant pest detection using advanced protocols.
“We believe that the projects will serve the purpose and interests of both China and the ASEAN particularly in the diagnosis of infectious animal diseases; the detection of highly invasive plant pests; the improvement of border inspection and quarantine operations; and efficient harmonization with international standards and practices,” he said.
He also recognized the significant benefits of the SPS Cooperation not only for the protection of human, animal, and plant life and health, but also for the expansion of intra-regional trade as the trade between ASEAN and China continues to flourish despite the pandemic.
China has been the ASEAN’s largest trading partner since 2009 and the ASEAN was China’s top trading partner in the first half of 2020.
Secretary Dar said, “The Philippines is of the view that this round of SPS Cooperation should open even more opportunities for free, fair, and mutually beneficial commerce between the nations of the ASEAN and China.”
He added that the Philippine delegation is confident that all action plans will be pursued as agreed and that each will be designed to minimize barriers to trade, lower trade-related regulatory costs, and create greater market opportunities for the parties involved.
The new Action Plan comprises the following activities: 1) establishment of information notification and communication system; 2) exchange visits of relevant personnel; 3) training, seminars, conferences and similar activities for narrowing the development gaps within ASEAN and China; 4) collaborative research; and 5) establishment of mechanism for consultation.