PCAF-CIT passes 2 resolutions for local competitiveness

In an effort to boost the competitiveness of local commodities in light of trade liberalization, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries-Committee on International Trade (PCAF-CIT) unanimously passed two resolutions during a meeting last January 28.

The PCAF-CIT Resolution No. 1, Series of 2015 requested the Department of Agriculture (DA) to designate a point person to coordinate and implement anti-smuggling plans and activities in order to reduce or stop smuggling of agricultural products in the country.

The committee also requested that the point person be provided with financial support corresponding to the activities of the Anti-Smuggling Task Force.

The Task Force was created by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 385, Series of 2004 in response to the unabated smuggling that continues to pose direct and serious threat to Filipino farmers as well as the Philippine economy.

To eradicate this threat, the EO includes a comprehensive approach involving the different departments and agencies of government.

In 2006, the Executive Department again issued EO 509 repealing EO 385, reconstituting the Task Force with the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as its head.

Strong cooperation among the DA, the Department of Trade and Industry and the private sector, and the check and balance mechanism in the BOC, led to a perceived decrease in smuggling activities in the country in recent years.

On the other hand, the committee’s Resolution No. 2 requested that the DA actively involve the Philippine Agricultural Attachés, who were also present during the committee meeting, in the formulation of the DA commodity roadmaps to arrive at more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals and guides for the local farmers and stakeholders.

During the meeting, the committee recognized that the commodity roadmaps contain priority actions and measures that need to be developed towards the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community, such as the need to harmonize tariffs under the purview of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry, food safety, and sanitary and phytosanitary-related concerns with the ASEAN member countries.

These roadmaps will be helpful in crafting the country’s strategies and priorities in its trade relations with other countries and regions under various multilateral and regional free trade agreements and other agreements, the committee stated in the resolution.

The PCAF-CIT is also requesting the Department to allocate supplemental funds to enable the attachés to promote agricultural and fishery products abroad, and collect and analyze market information on trade opportunities, problems and trends and relay them regularly to stakeholders in the country.

Philippine Agricultural Attachés are tasked to collect, analyze, and act on information on agriculture, agribusiness, food and other related spheres in a foreign country or countries. They also report on crop conditions, food availability, domestic agricultural policy and the foreign trade outlook of agricultural commodities.

Likewise, they negotiate food aid agreements and agricultural credit lines, implement agricultural technical assistance programs, facilitate professional contacts, exchanges, and technology transfer, assist in negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and promote the exports of agricultural and food products.

In many cases, they may also bear responsibility for issues related to the environment, food security, food safety, fisheries, forestry, and anything related to rural areas and the rural economy.


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