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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has issued a Note Verbale informing the Philippines that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has lifted the ban on Philippine aquatic products, except shrimps. The KSA’ import ban for shrimp remains in place due to shrimp diseases such as Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis, White Spot Syndrome, and Acute Hepatopancreatic Disease.
The ban on meat products has also been lifted as a result of various discussions between the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh and the SFDA. Meat establishments in the Philippines that intend to export to KSA may now apply for accreditation to export.
As required by SFDA, Philippine Competent Authorities (CAs) will submit a list of establishments that plan to export meat and aquatic products. The certification process will be handled by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for fresh and frozen products and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for prepared, processed, and preserved products.
The Philippines is now consolidating a list of establishments that intend to export to KSA. These establishments will be visited by SFDA, earliest in 2024, as part of the accreditation process. Establishments that have successfully completed the accreditation process will be able to export to KSA.
It can be recalled that KSA has required the submission of a System Evaluation Form from all countries exporting meat, poultry, and marine products. Pending the review and approval of the submitted System Evaluation Form, the SFDA has imposed a ban on the importation of Philippine meat, poultry, fish, and aquatic products.
In 2019, the Philippines exported about USD 5.5 million worth of meat, poultry, fish, and aquatic products to KSA. As a result of the ban, there were no Philippine exports of these products to KSA from 2020 up to the present. In 2022, KSA imports of these products from the world reached USD 2.6 billion.
The lifting of the ban on meat and aquatic products from the Philippines by KSA is therefore a welcome development. Philippine exporters are advised to comply with food safety regulations to ensure continued market access to KSA and other export markets.
For further questions and clarifications, you may contact the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) at email@example.com and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at firstname.lastname@example.org or EMB Market and Product Officers at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.