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Phl welcomes Brazil’s poultry import ban complaint

Author: DA Communications Group | 26 October 2020

All member-countries have an equal right to challenge each other whenever there are trade complaints lodged before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Thus, is the reply of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to a letter received recently through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from the Government of Brazil regarding the ban imposed by the DA on poultry products from Brazil based on reports of widespread COVID-19 infection among meat workers and the laboratory detection in China of SARS-COV-2 in imported chicken wings from Brazil.

“Although we have maintained an open communication line with our Brazilian counterparts, the Department of Agriculture welcomes the initiative of Brazil to elevate the matter to the WTO,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“We have not yet lifted the ban on poultry, especially whole chicken, as the Brazilian government has yet to furnish the Philippines a report on the rates of SARS-COV-2 infection in their respective Foreign Meat Establishments (FME), where our imports are sourced,” the DA chief said.

The report forms part of the protocols of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the requirements of the DA for a more in-depth risk analysis of the situation.

It is within the scope of the importing country to pre-emptively ban FMEs with apparent biosafety lapses until such time that the Philippines is satisfied with the evidence of compliance and/or commitment by the FME concerned, said DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo.

In fact, he said, “with the receipt of the partial documents from Brazil, the Philippines responded promptly by recently allowing the entry of mechanically-deboned meat or MDM from Brazil.”

MDM goes directly to accredited local meat processing plants upon which the Philippine government can impose direct monitoring and regulation.

On settling trade complaints and disputes, “the Philippines has always been facilitative of trade and open to discussion on trade issues which may not be acceptable to a trading partner,” said Secretary Dar.

The WTO provides an avenue that allows member governments to negotiate and resolve trade issues with other members.

“We welcome continued bilateral consultations with the Brazilian government, as we have always been to discuss this matter further towards mutual resolution,” he concluded. ### (DA StratComms)

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