PH, Vietnam tackle export collaboration
Officials representing Vietnam and the Philippines held a joint trade committee (JTC) meeting earlier this week, discussing a possible collaboration in the manufacturing of garments for exports and the further expansion of their current markets.
Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the committee discussed how the Philippines could help Vietnam in light of the latter’s participation in major trade arrangements with the European Union and the remaining member states of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
He said they discussed the possible expansion of the current coverage of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with the United States in order to include goods that were “important” to the local market such as garments and leather goods.
“We talked about joining forces for a common advocacy so we can expand the GSP of the US to cover more goods. When I say important, I refer to sectors that are labor extensive such as garments and leather goods,” he said, noting that the raw materials could possibly be sourced from Vietnam.
He said Vietnam has been ramping up the production capacity for textiles in anticipation of the TPP. However, he said that since the US has pulled out of the mega trade deal, there was a lot of room to fill in after the biggest market left the table.
“We are already discussing possibilities so that their textile could be brought here and then the resulting garments here would be exported to the US and the EU,” he said.
Apart from this, he said the discussion also touched on how Vietnam was willing to support whatever decision the Philippines would make with regard to rice importation. He said the meeting did not go into details.
“They understand the situation. In the meantime that the Philippines is working toward self-sufficiency, they are ready, just in case we would need rice,” he said.
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