The United States and the Philippines last week reached an agreement that resolves many of the long-standing trade issues between the two countries, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). In November 2010, the Philippine Department of Agriculture passed an administrative order providing strict mandates on refrigeration, traceability, labeling and packaging requirements for frozen pork. These changes favored domestic pork production and had a dramatic impact on U.S. pork exports to that country in 2011.

In resolving the issue, the Philippine Department of Agriculture agreed to eliminate the requirement for pre-wrapping and thawing of frozen meat prior to sale, to make meat temperature (rather than the temperature inside the container) the complying factor for sale and to allow the cutting/portioning of meat outside the container.

The agreement also included assurances that confiscations would end immediately, Veterinary Quarantine Certificates would not be used to restrict imports and the “test and hold” system would immediately revert to random sampling.

In 2011, the Philippines was the eighth-largest volume and value market for U.S. pork exports totaling 42,772 tons worth $92 million. NPPC projects that the removal of the current pork import restrictions will potentially turn the Philippines into a major market for U.S. pork products.