PH purchased $3.8 billion in U.S. agricultural products this year

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Corn planted on a farm near Dwight, Illinois. (Photo by SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP)

The United States is optimistic about exporting more agricultural products to the Philippines this year, anticipating demand for food and beverages in particular despite rising prices.

“Our products are safe and we believe that, without any unfair trade barriers, we can increase our exports,” Daniel Whitley, administrator of the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA), told reporters.

The Philippines is the eighth largest export market for US agricultural and food exports. According to a USDA report, U.S. agricultural exports to the country in 2021 hit a record $3.5 billion, up from $3.2 billion a year earlier.

Recently, the USDA projected that the Philippines would purchase approximately $3.8 billion worth of US agricultural products this year, an increase of 8%.

The foreign agency noted “strong opportunities” for agricultural products such as milk, cheese, meat, poultry, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, wine and pet food.

Sales of the food and beverage industry alone were projected at gro

w by 6%, attributing it to the relaunch of recent national elections alongside the easing of mobility restrictions.

Whitley said the United States was “particularly optimistic” about achieving projections for 2022.

“Obviously we talked about value [or] prices [which] have been somewhat high, but demand hasn’t really gone down, so we think those projections would hold,” Whitley said.

He said upward pressures in consumer food prices would likely prompt the Philippines to open the market to foreign supply.

In June, the Philippines’ annual inflation rate soared to 6.1%, the highest in three years. The inflation rate on food and non-alcoholic beverages alone accelerated to 6% from 4.9% in May.

Previous USDA analysis suggested that U.S. food and beverage demand would remain strong despite global supply and logistical challenges.

The Philippine government has slowly reopened the economy, allowing businesses to operate and recover with the easing of quarantine restrictions while working to prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

“So the projection of $3.8 billion seems about right to me. I think we will achieve that goal, I really do,” Whitley said.

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