The Philippines says negotiations are underway with Iran over exports of a variety of agricultural products to the country.
The media in Manila highlighted remarks by Iran’s Ambassador to Manila Mohammad Tanhaei that the country was specifically planning to purchase more bananas, pineapple, mango and abaca.
Tanhaei – speaking in a meeting with the Philippines’ Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol - emphasized that Iran was buying its required abaca from a third country, indicating that the Islamic Republic wanted to make direct purchases with Manila.
“We need a huge volume of abaca for tea bags, security papers and bank notes,” the ambassador was quoted as saying by PhilNews.com.
He further added that Tehran was also interested in exporting apples to the Philippines. Other products that the ambassador said the Islamic Republic was willing to export to the Philippines included cherry, pomegranate and pistachios.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Tanhaei said that Iran was willing to collaborate with the Philippine government in research and development for rice, biotechnology and modern farming.
He also said that Iran would be willing to provide Manila with synthetic rubber supply in exchange for its natural rubber in view of the country’s plans to establish its first Filipino-owned tire factory.
Pinol, in response, said that the government in the Philippines is looking into allowing imports of Iranian apples. He emphasized that as part of the standard procedure, the Philippine Department of Agriculture was finalizing the Pest Risk Analysis of Iran’s apple samples.
“I’m still waiting for the results, and if everything turns out okay, rest assured that (the document on) importation of apples is ready for signing,” Pinol was quoted as saying by the media.
The Philippine official expressed his interest in other ventures because of the huge market for tropical fruits, particularly bananas and pineapple, in Iran. He requested the Tehran government to reduce the tariff on bananas.