Kiko Pangilinan pushes for immediate appointment of Ambassador to Iran to salvage country’s lucrative Banana export industry

December 15, 2010

Press Release
December 16, 2010

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today sponsors a committee report on the state of the country’s banana export industry, pushing for the immediate implementation of measures to prop up the ailing local banana export industry hit badly by decreased shipments to Iran.

“We recommend that the Philippine government appoint of an ambassador to Iran who will make effective representation of our interest in terms of trade. As of now, there is no ambassador to Iran and that hampers our representation. We would also like to recommend the sending of a high-level delegation composed of the secretary or undersecretary of trade, foreign affairs and agriculture to clarify issues, and work to revive the trade and export of bananas to Iran and to address the gaps regarding trade agreements between the two countries.”

Philippine banana exporters may lose at least $720 million dollars in annual sales due to the reduced exports to Iran. This could also mean unemployment for 240,000 workers in the farm sector and in support industries, such as carton manufacturing, trucking, port services and shipping.

In a public hearing on the detrimental effects of the US sanctions on Iran to the Philippine banana export industry in Davao City headed by Pangilinan as chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association Inc. or PBGEA, stated that “shipments of Philippine bananas to Iran was abruptly stopped the first week of October this year when Iranian authorities imposed a ban on 48 imported fruits. Philippine bananas, pineapples and papayas were not included in the ban but importation by Iran of said commodities was drastically slowed down by the non-issuance of import permits by Iranian authorities to their fruit importers”

“We also recommend that the Philippines look into other alternative global markets such as China, Kuwait, Australia, and Russia. We hope that the recommendations of this committee report will mitigate the effects to our banana farmers and industry of the reduced exports to Iran.”