Farmers tell Marcos Jr to advise Beijing officials on the rampant smuggling of veggies from China

As the nature of the Presidential state visit to China will deal with current and future relations between China and the Philippines, we expect President and agriculture secretary Ferdinand Marcos Jr., at the very least, to also discuss the situation of illicit trade and rampant smuggling of agricultural products from China to the Philippines.

“Despite China being the Philippines’ top trade partner in 2021, with total trade valued at $38.35 billion, there is still an unimaginable extent of illicit trade. Smuggled onions from China have pushed up onion retail prices to as much as P700 per kilo in local markets. This is very alarming.”

“As the concurrent agriculture secretary, it is only just for Marcos Jr. to diplomatically call the attention of Chinese authorities regarding the unbridled, large-scale smuggling of billions worth of vegetables from China. The Chinese law enforcement should exert utmost efficiency to curb, repress and dispose of all smuggling activities and crimes at their Customs control areas and prescribed coastal or border areas especially Hong Kong,” Ramos added.  

“We know that China customs carry out heavy-handed policies against smuggling. They should do their very best in apprehending big-time Chinese smuggling syndicates who are in cahoots with local smugglers,” the KMP leader added.

“Majority of frozen and fresh vegetables intercepted by the PH Bureau of Customs in the past year were from Hong Kong and China. The Philippine government is losing billions worth of revenues as a result of these smuggling activities.”

Continuation of China-Philippines agricultural cooperation?

“We also want to know if Marcos Jr. will continue the China-Philippines agricultural cooperation signed by Rodrigo Duterte and Xi Jinping in 2016, as this will affect our efforts and demand for food security and food self-sufficiency.”

The said agricultural trade agreement led to China becoming the Philippines’ third-largest export destination of agricultural products and its second-largest import source of PH farm products. “Dapat palakasin ang local na produksyon ng pagkain at agricultural products para sa mga Pilipino mismo. Lalabas, mas malaki pa ang pakinabang ng China sa ating agrikultura kaysa sa mga Pilipino,” KMP’s Rafael Mariano said.

As a result of the said trade agreement, PH started exporting fresh coconuts and avocados to China while securing more than half of the market share of bananas in Chinese markets. Chinese investments in agriculture also grew exponentially over the years as China also supported irrigation and agricultural technology projects, particularly the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology which cultivates China-origin commercial hybrid rice.

Marcos Jr. is expected to sign at least 10 bilateral agreements with China during the state visit, including agreements on trade and investments, agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, development cooperation, people-to-people ties, and maritime security. ###  

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