Fourth Australia and the Philippines Agriculture Forum

Joint statement

Canberra, Australia, 28 November 2018

Australia and the Philippines have a long-standing agricultural relationship encompassing complementary trade, biosecurity cooperation and agriculture-related capacity building. The relationship is supported by the Australia and the Philippines Agriculture Forum (the Forum) which met for the fourth time on 28 November 2018 in Canberra, Australia.

The Forum addressed items of mutual interest to the Philippines and Australia, and showcased the longstanding cooperation between the two countries. As stated in the Comprehensive Partnership signed by Australia and the Philippines in November 2015, both countries recognised the need to work on enhancing and improving the bilateral trade relationship in agriculture and expressed optimism in working together to cultivate a stronger enabling environment for increasing bilateral trade.

The Philippines and Australia noted the extensive cooperation on plant biosecurity over many years and welcomed the achievement of formalizing a paperless trading system for sanitary and phytosanitary certificates in dairy, meat, horticulture and grain products between the Philippines and Australia.

The Philippines and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance consultation and cooperation on agriculture-related issues. Opportunities to share knowledge on traceability systems for agricultural commodities and approaches to water management in irrigated systems were discussed.

Participants shared updates on agricultural policies and practices including Australia’s imported food legalisation, the Philippines’ updated Food Safety Act and approaches to implementing international standards relating to animal health and biosecurity.  The Forum discussed regional fisheries issues including the management of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Philippines and Australia discussed current market access requests. The Philippines made a presentation on technical issues relating to market access for Philippine bananas to Australia. Australia noted the importance of receiving a formal submission from the Philippines including the technical basis of the issues being raised to enable appropriate consideration.  The Philippines undertook to prepare such a submission. The Philippines interest in market access for durian and dragon fruit was also discussed, and Australia initiated a discussion on recognition of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment.

Both sides also shared perspectives on the status of outcomes for agriculture to date under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Free Trade Agreement.

The discussions are underpinned by an enduring and constructive working relationship. It was agreed that future Forums should continue to guide and support the bilateral agricultural relationship and generate tangible trade benefits for both countries. The fifth Australia and the Philippines Agriculture Forum would be hosted in the Philippines in 2020.

The Forum was co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Mr. Malcolm Thompson and for the Philippines Department of Agriculture by Undersecretary for Operations and Agri-Fisheries Mechanization, Mr. Ariel T. Cayanan.

Signed on 28 November 2018

[signed]

Mr Malcolm Thompson
Deputy Secretary of the
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

[signed]

Mr Ariel T. Cayanan
Undersecretary for Operations & Agri-Fisheries Mechanization
Department of Agriculture

Photo of Malcolm Thompson and Ariel T Cayanan
Meeting of the 4th Australia-Philippines Agriculture Forum in
Canberra. We discussed market access issues and strenthening
our agriculture relationship. We signed a Joint Statement
reinforcing our commitment to future engagement.