Bernadette E. Tamayo
December 2, 2010
SEN. Francis Pangilinan asked the government to send a high level delegation to Tehran to address trade gaps between the Philippines and Iran.
Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, made the proposal during a public hearing on the detrimental effects of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran since the Philippines exports bananas to the Islamic country.
He linked the sanction to Iran’s build-up of nuclear weapons.
“The Philippines and its banana exporters stand to lose $170 million in annual revenues. Fifteen percent of the country’s fresh bananas were exported to Iran in 2009,” Pangilinan said.
“Kawawa naman ang mga magsasaka natin at wala naman tayong kinalaman sa awayan na ito. Both the farmers and the Department of Foreign Affairs admit that there is no trade ban on our bananas being imposed by Iran,” he said.
”However, Iranian businessmen are having difficulty in securing letters of credit as their currency is not accepted in trading; dollars are. And this is where the US sanction on Iran affects local banana exporters.
Consequently, Iranian traders aren’t able to pay our exporters.”
“We suggest that we appoint an agricultural attaché to Iran and send high level delegation to Tehran so we can address the gaps. That would be the first step. Also, let’s look at other markets we’ve yet to explore like China, Kuwait, etc. We must find immediate solutions to address this impending crisis,” he said.
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