PHL buying record-high agri goods from US

THE value of agricultural products that the Philippines will import from the United States this year would likely reach $2.75 billion, 10 percent higher than the $2.5-billion import bill recorded last year, according to the latest report of the Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report.
The Gain report, prepared by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Manila, attributed the increase in the growing demand for food-related imports from the country’s expanding food sector.
“Traders forecast export sales in 2017 will increase 7 percent to $2.75 billion. Consumer-oriented food and beverage (F&B) products remain the best prospects for future export growth fueled by consumer confidence in the quality of American products and the steady expansion of the country’s retail, foodservice and food processing sectors.”
The Gain report noted that the projected $2.75 billion worth of agricultural imports this year is the highest value of in-bound shipments made by Manila from Washington since at least 1970.
The Philippines’s import bill for F&B products this year is projected to breach the $1-billion mark, increasing by at least 2 percent from last year’s $923 million recorded value, according to the Gain report. In-bound shipment of F&B products is estimated to account for at least 36 percent of the Philippines’s total agricultural imports from the US this year.
“The Philippines continues to be the largest US market in Southeast Asia for consumer-oriented F&B products, with export sales of $923 million in 2016, up 2 percent from the previous year,” it said.
“Traders expect sales of US F&B products to the Philippines will surpass the $1-billion mark in 2017 as it did in 2014,” it added.
The US continues to be the Philippines’s largest supplier of agricultural products. The Philippines is its 11th-largest global market.
The Gain report said US agricultural exports to the Philippines increased 11 percent to $2.5 billion in 2016, driven by a robust economy and strong consumer spending. 
“The top US exports in 2016 were soybeans and soybean meal [$833 million], wheat [$592 million], dairy products [$227 million], red meats [$143 million], prepared food [$89 million], poultry meat and products [$77 million], processed vegetables [$72 million], fresh fruit [$65 million], snack foods [$63 million] and chocolate and cocoa products [$47 million],” the Gain report added.
According to the USDA, the Philippines is the second-largest market for US soybean meal (SBM), next to Mexico. Driven by a strong feed demand from the domestic hog and poultry industries, the USDA projected that SBM imports in 2017-2018 would reach 2.85 million metric ton.
The Philippines is also the top destination of fresh or chilled potatoes from the US. Data from the USDA showed American producers exported nearly $6.6 million of fresh or chilled potatoes to the Philippines in 2016.
Other American products that are shipped to the Philippines include pet food and processed food and beverages. In a previous GAIN  report, the US is projected to increase its shipments of pet food to the Philippines by nearly 10 percent to $28.8 million this year, from $26.2 million a year ago.

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