TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China and the Philippines' improved relationship means China has overtaken Japan to become the largest importer of bananas from the Philippines, the Liberty Times reported on Wednesday (Nov. 20).
Exports of Philippine bananas to China went stagnant when the two countries were at odds with each other over territorial issues in the South China Sea, the news outlet reported. In response, China stepped up quarantine measures on bananas from the Philippines.
However, since Rodrigo Duterte took office as Philippine president, the relationship between the two countries has improved. As a result, exports of Philippine bananas to China have also increased dramatically, the report said.
The Philippines exported 1.16 million tons of bananas to China in 2018, a 56 percent increase compared to the previous year, Liberty Times reported. In the same year, China overtook Japan to become the largest importer of Philippine bananas. Japan imported 945,000 tons of bananas from the Philippines that year, according to the news outlet.
The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA) said banana export growth is largely due to the large population in China and its gigantic economy. A PBGEA spokesperson said it was only a question of time before China replaced Japan as the largest exporter of Philippine bananas, according to the news outlet.