Philippines approves imports of cattle embryo

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

The Philippines has allowed cattle embryos coming from the United States to enter the country with initial sales expected to reach P20 million in one year.

In a report, the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service said the Philippines formally opened its market to US bovine embryos on May 19.

This after the Bureau of Animal Industry and USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service have finalized the health protocol for the importation of bovine embryos from the US into the Philippines.

“Such a move is expected to level the playing field for US exporters vis-à-vis the competition in Australia and Canada,” USDA said.

Traders estimate sales of US bovine embryos could reach $400,000 or P20.1 million in the next 12 months.

“There is more potential over the following two to three years due to new Philippine government initiatives to develop the beef and dairy sectors,” it added.

The Philippines has a small beef and dairy industry that the Department of Agriculture has sought to develop through various assistance programs, including through the importation of live cattle and genetics.

Total cattle inventory as of January 2020 is about 2.54 million heads.

“Lack of available grazing land and high feed costs, among others, have prolonged inefficient production systems and stagnant growth,” USDA said.

USDA noted that current opportunities for embryo use by the private sector and for the beef industry as a whole are currently limited.

However, opportunities for increased sales may open up in the next two to three years with new government initiatives being implemented in an effort to expand the local beef and dairy production.

Like all live animal and animal product importation, a licensed importer must secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from BAI’s National Veterinary Quarantine Services.

Products must not be shipped for export before the SPSIC’s issuance, yet must be shipped no later than 60 days following its issuance.

The Most Favored Nation tariff rate for bovine embryos is one percent. However, importers may receive a zero duty under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, subject to submission of a certificate of eligibility or certificate of accreditation, issued by DA.

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