THE Philippines and Vietnam will expand their bilateral trade to $10 billion by exploring untapped resources, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
In a statement during his call with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi, Marcos said there are many opportunities on trade and investments that the two neighboring countries may explore in order to expand their bilateral trade, which is currently at about $7 billion.
“And in time hopefully, the balance between our imports and exports will move to a more equitable ratio,” he said.
Marcos said the Philippines is also looking forward to capitalizing on its ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to maintain the upward trend in its trade with Vietnam, the country’s 11th largest trade partner globally, and the fifth largest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
He said the Philippines is encouraged to establish a close partnership with Vietnam to streamline trade and investment procedures, reduce trade barriers, and cultivate a transparent and predictable business environment that promotes fair competition and mutual growth and development.
The total trade between the Philippines and Vietnam amounted to $6.18 billion in 2022, with exports valued at $1.72 billion and imports at $4.46 billion. The $2.74 billion balance of trade is in favor of Vietnam.
The Philippines’ main exports to Vietnam include electrical machinery and equipment and parts; copper and articles; nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, and parts; plastics and articles; as well as fertilizers.
Among the Philippines’ main imports from Vietnam are cereals; electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; iron and steel; salt, Sulphur, earths, and Stine; plastering materials, lime, and cement; and miscellaneous edible preparations.
In a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Marcos invited Vietnamese businessmen to consider the Philippines as an investment destination for their expansion plans covering various areas.
“The Philippines can serve as a secondary location in support of your manufacturing operations in Viet Nam, especially in key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, automotive, and services,” he said.
Marcos also expressed gratitude to Vietnam’s continued support to Filipino companies, hoping they could further grow their businesses in their country, which is an indication of a conducive business environment the neighboring country has provided.
In a joint statement, Marcos and President Vo Van Thuong said they also agreed to enhance political trust, friendship and comprehensive cooperation through holding regular high-level engagements and visits at all levels through Party, State, Government and parliamentary channels, as well as people-to-people exchanges of the two countries.
They also committed to uphold established bilateral cooperation mechanisms and implement effectively the instruments signed between the two countries to enhance mutual understanding and trust.
“They emphasized the importance of increasing the volume of two-way trade and investment, including through leveraging on the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (Atiga) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in promoting more integrated supply chains among companies from the two economies,” the statement read.
“Both sides agreed to work closely on creating favorable conditions for smooth trade flows in order to achieve the trade target of USD 10 billion at the earliest, as well as enhancing the business environment to make it more conducive to invest in sectors of interest to both countries,” it added.
The two leaders also discussed promising cooperation in agriculture, particularly in rice trading, market access for agricultural products, food security, energy security, infrastructure development, education, transportation management, innovation, tourism, connectivity, science and technology, and environmental protection, among others. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)