PH to send trade mission to Russia

By Lilybeth Ison

February 11, 2019, 6:33 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is organizing a trade mission in hopes of penetrating the huge and previously unexplored market of Russia as well as other member countries of the Russian Federation.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol said the trade mission will include delegates from the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

With three fisheries companies already exporting their products to the Russian Federation, Piñol said, the Philippines is now working on marketing more agricultural products to the vast market, including coconut oil, bananas, shrimps, among others.

On Feb. 6, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev visited the Office of the Agriculture Secretary to finalize the arrangements for the planned visit of the Philippine delegation to Moscow later this month.

"The engagement will include the signing of an Implementing Agreement (IA) between me and Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev which would spell out the specific areas of engagements between Russia and the Philippines," Piñol said.

He said the agreement is based on a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between him and then Agriculture Minister Alexandr Takchev during the visit of President Rody Duterte to Moscow in May 2017.

Under the MOA, Russia will buy up to USD2.5 billion worth of Philippine agricultural products.

This overshadows the USD46 million worth of exports the Philippines currently ships to Russia every year.

Piñol noted that the new agreement will identify the areas of engagement between the two countries, including the investments by Russian business groups in the development of agriculture and aquaculture in the Bangsamoro Area.

He said that during their meeting last week, he conveyed to Ambassador Khovaev "the interest of the Philippines in importing fertilizers, wheat and modern farm machinery from Russia and the other member states of the Russian Federation."

"Ambassador Khovaev said that as soon as he receives the official communication from the DA through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), he will immediately work on the arrangement of the trade mission," he added.

Piñol said he already informed DFA Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. of the planned trade mission.

The planning of the trade mission was primarily prompted by the efforts of the DA to find new markets for its coconut products in the face of very low prices of coco oil in the world market.

He said the Philippines is interested in importing fertilizers, wheat and modern farm machinery from Russia, while Russia is interested in importing coconut products, bananas and seafood. (PNA)