Multilateral Trade Agreements
U.S. Agricultural Exports Pre- and Post- Trade Agreements USDA Foreign Agricultural Service 15th May 2017
Slash rice tariffs to cut poverty in Asean–OECD BusinessMirror 11th Jul 2017
The Philippines and other Asean countries would be able to cut poverty faster if they would cut tariffs on rice and eliminate trade barriers, according to the latest study released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In its recent study, titled “OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026”, the OECD said an Asean integrated rice market, where tariffs are scrapped and nontariff barriers are reduced, would ensure food security among developing countries in Southeast Asia. “The development of the Asean Economic Community [AEC] extends well beyond agriculture and aims to allow for the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labor across the region, along with the free flow of capital,” the study read. “As such, it has the potential to significantly impact growth opportunities in the region, agricultural competiveness [within countries and for the region globally], along with important policy focuses, such as food security,” it added.
A growing proposition Asia Asset Management 11th Jul 2017
In an initiative that seems to have survived the narrow domestic focus of the Trump administration, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has just invited Southeast Asian agri-business innovators to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for potential partnerships with the agency. Perhaps this shows that even a populist know-nothing government recognises the importance of agribusiness investment and development.
Changes to Halal certification to apply to all businesses Biz Brunei 9th Jul 2017
All businesses in Brunei producing, supplying and serving food and beverages are now required to obtain Halal certification, according to the recent amendment to the Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order. Failure to apply (initiating the application process) for Halal certification within the grace period can be fined up to a maximum of $8,000 and/or face two years in jail.
Department of Agriculture and Agrifood launches fruit-processing course for farmers Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jul 2017
A Fruit Processing Training Programme, jointly organised by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) of Brunei Darussalam and the Asean Secretariat (ASEC) under the Strengthening Capacity-Building in Agriculture Sector in Asean member countries, was officially launched yesterday at the Horticultural Simpur Hall in Rimba, Gadong. Present at the launch was Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. The training programme is sponsored by the Japanese Government through its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and conducted by IMBRU Essential Oil Enterprise.
Rising Food, Fuel Prices to Push Up Inflation, AMRO Says The Cambodia Daily 5th Jul 2017
Cambodia’s rising wages and consumer demand for food and fuel is expected to push up inflation this year, a regional research agency said following a country visit. The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) estimated that Cambodia’s inflation rate would rise to about 4 percent this year, up from 3 percent last year, according to a media statement released on Monday about the visit, which concluded on June 28. Seung Hyun Hong, lead specialist for surveillance at AMRO, said food and fuel costs would drive the inflation, and noted that food items in particular made up about 45 percent of Cambodia’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.
Trade Ministry to require producers to sell cheap cooking oil The Jakarta Post 5th Jul 2017
The Trade Ministry plans to require all cooking oil producers to allocate a certain percentage of their production for simple packaged cooking oil and cheap variants in a bid to stabilize staple prices. “All cooking oil producers will have to allocate a certain percentage out of their total production for simple packaged and bulk oil variants,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto “Enggar” Lukita told reporters after a post-Ramadan gathering on Tuesday.
Minister Optimistic of Achieving Self - sufficiency in Garlic Tempo 4th Jul 2017
Agriculture Minister Andi Arman Sulaiman is optimistic that Indonesia can achieve self-sufficiency in garlic by providing 60,000 hectares of land, including in Temanggung, Magelang and East Lombok. “Self-sufficiency in garlic can be achieved, insha Allah. Paddy and corn are the commodities [cultivated] in 21 hectares of land, whereas garlic only needs 60,000 hectares of land to achieve self-sufficiency. It’s very minimal. We can do it in a short period,” Amran said yesterday in Jakarta.
Indonesia Achieves Top 25 Food Sustainability Index Tempo 3rd Jul 2017
The Agriculture Ministry revealed that Indonesia is among 25 countries with top food sustainability index list released by Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) and the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU). The list was released following a report on Global Food Security Index. “I received a text message, Indonesia’s agricultural index currently ranks 21st among 113 countries,” said Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman on Monday, July 3.
Govt to Improve Beef Trade System Tempo 2nd Jul 2017
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that beef trade system will be improved to cut the price. "We will assess everything starting from the slaughter house (RPH), we will regulate everything," he said in Bandung on Wednesday (28/6). He explained that one of the measures taken is by supplying the market with imported frozen beef. "We will supply the frozen meat, it will make the price stable."
Government to flood market with frozen buffalo meat The Jakarta Post 28th Jun 2017
The government plans to supply markets with more frozen buffalo meat in an effort to push prices down, even though it is less popular than fresh beef meat. Apart from supplying markets with frozen meat, Trade Minister Enggartiasto “Eanggar” Lukita said the government would also examine meat distribution, from slaughter houses to markets, to better understand the causes of the persistent high price of meat.
Indonesia to soon ratify Minamata Convention on Mercury Antara News 23rd Jun 2017
A number of ministries and institutions at a joint meeting with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) on Thursday, have committed to accelerate the ratification process of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya hoped that the ratification of the convention be implemented before the first Conference of the Parties (COP-1) of Minamata Convention which will be held in September 24-29.
Trade Ministry Stabilizes Staple Food Prices Tempo 23rd Jun 2017
The Trade Ministry is seeking to improve the commerce system to maintain staple food prices. Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that the improvement started from maintaining supplies to securing distributions. “We have to improve the system while maintaining what has been working well,” Enggartiasto said at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, June 22, 2017.
M'sia may re-evaluate trade with France over bias against palm biofuels NST Online 11th Jul 2017
Malaysia will consider to restrict purchase of French products if the country proceeds with discriminating and attacking the palm oil industry, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said today. “The French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot allegation that palm biofuel is linked to vast deforestation is misplaced. It’s misguided and not true. “France should stop attacking palm oil. France should cherish 60 years of diplomatic relations with Malaysia. If France goes on discriminating the palm oil industry, Malaysia will consider to restrict purchase of French products,” he said.
McDonald's Malaysia to spend RM1.4b on expansion The Star Online 4th Jul 2017
McDonald's Malaysia is investing RM1.4 billion to increase the number of its outlets to 450 nationwide by 2025. Managing director/operating partner, Azmir Jaafar, said McDonald's Malaysia achieved year-on-year revenue growth of 16% last year and was confident of continuing the trend this year. He said McDonald's Malaysia now has a network of 262 restaurants and 12,000 employees serving 160 million customers annually. "McDonald's Malaysia is aggressively pursuing an expansion plan. Our committed investment of RM1.4 billion over 10 years is a testament to our confidence in the future of the country," he told reporters after the launch of Fraser and Neave (F&N) Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd and McDonald's Malaysia joint marketing partnership in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday. The expansion could create 6,000 more jobs on top of 12,000 that McDonald's Malaysia currently has, he said, adding that the investment reflected the commitment to serve its growing number of customers.enue. - Bernama
Myanmar community forestry best practices cited at ASEAN conference Mizzima 1st Jul 2017
The best practices of the Myanmar’s community forestry-based enterprises were cited by a Ministry of Industry (MOI) at the recently concluded 7th ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Conference held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Dr. Phyu Phyu Win, Assistant Director of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy and International Affairs at MOI, shared Myanmar’s experiences and insights in her paper presentation titled “Promoting Productivity, Technology, and Innovation: Examples of Successful Community Forestry-based Enterprises in Myanmar.” Dr. Win’s participation in the conference was funded by the Philippines-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) through its travel grants facility. Headed by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., SEARCA strengthens institutional capacities toward inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia through its core programs on graduate education, research and development and knowledge management.
Myanmar weighs in on booming online food shops The Myanmar Times 5th Jul 2017
Myanmar's online food shops have become very popular among the country’s millions of Internet users, giving restaurants and street food shops a run for their money. As the internet has become widely used in Myanmar, people have taken to online shopping, importing clothes and accessories mainly from Thailand and Singapore as well as dried or fried food, snacks and recipes using social media.
Myanmar: Permission for Foreign Investors to Trade Fertilizers, Seeds, Pesticides, Hospital Equipment, and Construction Materials Lexology 26th Jun 2017
On June 12, 2017, the Ministry of Commerce issued Notification 36/2017 to permit foreign owned companies to trade and import fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, hospital equipment, and construction materials that are prescribed under the Myanmar Harmonized System (HS) commodity code. Previously, only local companies and local-foreign joint ventures were allowed to engage in such trade. The relaxation of restrictions is intended to obtain quality goods for the nation’s agricultural, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors.
Biotechnology a key to food security SunStar 9th Jul 2017
Biotechnology can be the key to the country's food security and development issues. Gil Saguiguit, director of Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) said that this scientific technology gives farmers a fighting chance to cope with the many challenges and obstacles they face in farming. He reiterated the increasing importance of safe, and evidence- and science-based agricultural technologies in promoting agricultural productivity and food and nutrition security amid climate change and dwindling production resources. Among these technologies is biotechnology, including both traditional (such as selective breeding and fermentation techniques) and modern (genetic engineering) techniques, which Searca looks at as an important tool in addressing most of the agriculture challenges.
House bill on judicious use of coco levy fund pushed Manila Bulletin News 2nd Jul 2017
Consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s advocacy, Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles has strongly endorsed plenary approval of the proposed Act creating the Coconut Industry Trust Fund for the controversial coco levy fund.
Beverage maker says sugar tax should apply to all Malaya 28th Jun 2017
Conglomerate LT Group Inc. said the proposed excise tax on sugary drinks should cover not just big businesses but small businesses too. The company, meanwhile, has announced a P10-billion capital expenditure for the year to expand its businesses.
DA studying Bataan for pilot project to boost mango output Business World 27th Jun 2017
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is looking into setting up a program to ramp up mango production, with Bataan being considered as a pilot area.
Escudero rejects higher taxes, urges more efficient collection GMA News Online 27th Jun 2017
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Tuesday said he does not agree with the government’s proposal to impose new and higher taxes. In a television interview, Escudero said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) should improve their collection instead. “It’s an easy way out. Instead of collecting taxes properly, instead of increasing efficiency, ‘let’s just impose higher taxes’,” Escudero pointed out. “If you look at the month-on-month revenue take of both Customs and the BIR, they’re way below target...Here they are not collecting taxes and yet running to Congress and asking for new taxes,” he said. The proposed tax reform measure of the Duterte administration is aiming to lower income taxes while limiting value added tax (VAT) exemptions, adjusting excise taxes on oil and automobiles, and imposing new taxes on sugar sweetened drinks. Escudero also rejected the argument that the tax on sweetened beverages, including soda, 3-in-1 coffee, and energy drinks, is a health measure. “They are calling it a health bill but in truth and in fact, it’s not. It’s just a revenue measure." Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, earlier said the Department of Finance (DOF) should reconsider the proposed P10-per-liter excise tax on sweetened drinks. Angara said the sugar content should be used as a basis, rather than the volume of sweetened drinks.
Farmers now get easy access to credit – DA philstar.com 25th Jun 2017
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has officially launched its easy access loan program starting in Surigao del Norte, aimed at improving the country’s lending for the agriculture sector.
Filipinos throw a lifeline to farmers in distress The Hindu 24th Jun 2017
Doing good comes with great rewards. This is the philosophy that keeps Cropital – a crowdfunding platform put up by a group of Filipino millennials to help local farmers – running. Since it was launched in November 2015, Cropital has provided financial support to around 560 farmers across the Philippines, says 24-year-old Rachel de Villa, the organization’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Cropital was born out of a need to support smallholder farmers by providing them with services that empower them, improve their productivity, and ultimately increase their income,” de Villa says. “This is made possible by the growing global network of Cropital community who came from all walks of life and are willing to give their hard-earned money to support our farmers,” she says. The enterprise enables low-cost, sustainable agricultural investments to support farmers, thereby promoting inclusive growth, reducing poverty and ensuring food security.
NFA needs additional 600,000 MT of rice philstar.com 24th Jun 2017
Despite the expected arrival of approved imports, the National Food Authority (NFA) is still short of almost 600,000 metric tons (MT) of rice for it to meet its rice buffer stock requirement for the lean moths.
NIA Aims to Develop 1.27-M Hectares of irrigable Land Manila Bulletin 23rd Jun 2017
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is hopeful it will be able to develop the remaining 1.27 million hectares of irrigable land by 2022.
Season-based tariffs likely to replace rice-import cap BusinessMirror 6th Jul 2017
WHILE the Philippines is set to give up its privilege to regulate the entry of imported rice through the quantitative restriction (QR) scheme, Manila will still use its flexibility under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose higher tariff rates on a seasonal basis to protect local farmers from import surge, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Thursday.
Why ThaiBev can just shrug off excise tax concerns Singapore Business Review 7th Jul 2017
It may not necessarily cause a drop in production volume. The impending excise tax hike implementation in Thailand set in September is a cause of concern for Singapore-listed beverage firm ThaiBev. But analysts at CIMB Research are suggesting that this should not be a cause of worry.
Drink milk for all it's worth Bangkok Post 1st Jul 2017
One fifth of women in Thailand aged between 40 to 80 years suffer from osteoporosis, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says, prompting calls for people to drink more milk. The disease causes bones to lose strength and density, with increasing incidents of hip fractures among females in this age group over the past 30 years, said Vinod Ahuja, an FAO livestock policy officer based in Bangkok. One of the major culprits is insufficient calcium intake which is obtained from milk and dairy products. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million incidents of bone fractures annually (one every three seconds) the foundation report says. In Thailand, the latest national survey by the National Statistical Office found people do not drink enough milk. The average 14 litres of milk consumption by a Thai person a year is four to seven times less than other Asean countries.
Thai food makers serving up feast for pampered pets Nikkei Asian Review 25th Jun 2017
Leading food producers in Thailand are rushing to cash in on the growing pet food market, serving up premium offerings to the dogs and cats beloved by the country's expanding middle class. Thai Union Group, the world leader in canned-tuna products, expanded production facilities for high-end pet foods in the latter half of 2016. An 80-gram can of pet food sells for around 45 baht ($1.32) -- higher than canned tuna for humans. Revenues are on the rise due to "owners' preference for healthy, nutritious food for their pets," said Paul English, head of pet food operations, who called this trend a "global" phenomenon. Sales at the pet food business, excluding foreign exchange impacts, climbed 14% last year to around 9 billion baht ($264 million). This growth helped propel the company forward even as a strong baht ate into sales of canned tuna.
Rice from Thailand safe for consumption The Nation 29th Jun 2017
The Royal Thai Embassy in Brunei Darussalam wishes to refer to the video that had gone viral via social media about rice supplied to Brunei. “Although the rice packaging shown in the video is not from Thailand, we, on behalf of the Government of Thailand, wish to assure that the rice supplied and sold in this country is absolutely safe for human consumption,” the Royal Thai Embassy said in a statement. “Every delivery of rice is accredited with Phytosanitary Certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Bangkok, Thailand, and Certificate of Quality issued by the authorities in Thailand in accordance with the terms stipulated in the contract between the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the supplier from Thailand.” According to the Royal Thai Embassy, the rice supplier from Thailand and the Thai Government firmly value the good and long term business cooperation with the Government of Brunei Darussalam.
Vietnam may sue the US for trade barriers on catfish exports VietnamNet 11th Jul 2017
Tra fish export companies in Mekong Delta have been warned about the disadvantages of exporting tra fish to the US because of stringent provisions set by the US Farm Bill.
Workshop on trust networks for food safety held vietnamnews.vn 11th Jul 2017
Nearly 100 representatives attended a one-day workshop called “Scaling up the trust networks for food safety with small farmers,” held today in Hà Nội.
Vietnam gears toward agro export expansion VietnamNet 11th Jul 2017
VietNamNet Bridge – Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) about plans to increase exports of agro-products.
Vietnam to promote high-quality rice Bangkok Post 6th Jul 2017
HANOI - Vietnam has outlined plans to boost revenues from rice exports over the next decade by focusing on a higher quality product and selling more outside Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City: The heart of Asia's craft brew scene CNN 5th Jul 2017
But feather-light lagers aren't the only game in town anymore. The country's craft beer scene is booming, having welcomed more than a dozen micro-breweries in the past two years.