PHL, China discuss "special treatment" of rice in WTO

April 30, 2012 10:46 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, April 30 — Even as they were squabbling over stones and reefs in the Scarborough Shoals last week, China and the Philippines feasted in Beijing on the palatable rice issue and how special this Asian staple will be treated by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Both China and the Philippines are WTO members, and the Philippines is seeking common ground with China as to how Manila’s rice trading mechanism is indelibly linked to farmers’ lifestyle.

Both discussed on April 26 the special treatment of rice, an arrangement between exporting and importing countries in the WTO.

All is not lost, and the two Asian kin remain friends as Philippine National Food Authority Administrator Angelito T. Banayo led his delegation in the meeting with Chinese Ministry of Commerce officials, led by Assistant Minister Yu Jian Hua.

”The Philippines and China have agreed to pursue these talks in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding and observance of fair and equitable principles, in accordance with existing multilateral agreements in the WTO,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

DFA said “China indicated understanding of the Philippines’ position in food security and competitiveness of its rice farmers. The Philippines took note of China’s desire for an increase in market access.”

There will be further bilateral talks on the issue. (PNA) DCT/GJB

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