PH to Supply Fruits, food to SK's Supermarket Chain


Even if the government failed to get a sound response on its request for South Korea to lower its tariff on Philippines' agriculture products, the country was still able to bag a deal to supply fruits and food to the East Asian nation's biggest supermarket chain for three years straight.

President Rodrigo Duterte, along with his cabinet and other Filipino high-ranking government and corporate officials, was recently in South Korea for a three-day official visit.

During a bilateral meeting, Duterte asked his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, to lower the tariff imposed on Philippines' agricultural products entering their country, including bananas.

The South Korean President only gave a generic response and said his government will look at mechanisms that will make the request a reality.

Nevertheless, the Philippines still bagged what could be the biggest supply deal for the Philippines' agriculture sector.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to South Korea's biggest supermarket chain, EMart, resulted to a three-year fruit and food supply deal for the country.

EMart, which recently hosted a week-long Philippine Food Festival, is South Korea's biggest supermarket chain with 153 outlets, including a newly opened branch in Vietnam. Its affiliates in South Korea includes Starbucks Coffee Korea and Serin Food.   Piñol said the supply deal with EMart is the biggest business deal with a single company bagged by the Philippines' agriculture sector.

This deal, according to him, will translate to additional earnings of P28 billion for the agriculture sector.  EMart President and Chief Executive Officer Gab-soo Lee, as cited by Piñol, told Duterte that the supply deal could go beyond the targetted level because of the huge demand for Philippine fruits in South Korea and 90 percent of imported banana that enters South Korea comes from the Philippines.

Lee told Duterte that EMart prefers to source its fruit supplies from the Philippines because of its proximity to South Korea, which results in fresher products.

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