PH, Vietnam to expand ties, form joint trade committee
The Philippines and Vietnam are planning to establish a joint trade committee to further expand and enhance the bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries.
In a text message to reporters late Thursday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that during the bilateral talks with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang, President Duterte raised the need to have joint efforts in “growing trade and working on improving the trade balance.”
“The Philippines currently has a trade deficit with Vietnam, which means we import more than we export to Vietnam. We export mainly electronics, copper cathodes, smart cards, oil cakes, while we import rice, transmission apparatus, coffee, cement clinkers,” Lopez explained.
“President Duterte suggested that as we import rice and other products. Vietnam can consider buying more of our food and value-added agriculture-based products, furniture, construction materials, fabricated metals, to name a few. He also invited more Vietnamese companies to invest in the Philippines and reiterated his commitment to a clean and fast registration system, to honor contracts and protect their investments,” Lopez added.
According to Lopez, both leaders agreed to expand bilateral cooperation beyond security, trade and investments to include education and training.
“Both leaders encouraged more mutual training programs, people-to-people exchanges, sharing of scholars and experts and even enhancing cultural exchanges. The milestone achieved in the bilateral talks definitely strengthened the country’s trade and investment relationship with Vietnam moving forward. Mechanisms like a joint trade committee will be developed to [put in operation] these objectives,” Lopez said.
The trade chief added that there was also an agreement to develop a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on food safety especially for agri and aqua, fishing and marine resources products. An MRA refers to an international agreement by which two or more countries agree to recognize one another’s conformity assessments and standards.
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