Philippines, Vietnam to expand relations beyond rice trade

Farmers dry their rice crops in the middle of the sun at Brgy. Paligue in Candaba, Pampanga on April 1, 2023.
STAR/Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit on Wednesday to discuss opportunities for further cooperation on trade, tourism as well as defense and security.

Marcos Jr. said ties between the two countries should expand “beyond just in trading in rice” and should go into other areas such as rehabilitating tourism following the pandemic or even try the trade of other products.

He added that discussions between Philippine and Vietnamese foreign service and military leaders may be initiated soon.

“I think that the market is ripe for continued development in the areas of course as I mention, in agriculture, transfer of technologies for climate change, the different areas that we have been looking at also at specific products that Vietnam has been successful at,” Marcos Jr. said.

The Philippines is Vietnam’s largest rice market, with Manila receiving 2.47 metric tons of rice from Vietnam in 2022. Rice export to the Philippines last year stood at $1.4 billion.

Pham assured Marcos that Vietnam will continue trying “to provide a long-term strategic supply” to the Philippines products it can produce.

He also expressed “great sympathy” for Manila, as among the factors affecting the country’s agricultural productivity is its vulnerability to natural disasters.

Vietnam, on the other hand, asked for the Philippines’ support in its candidacies in various United Nations agencies, such as the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council.

The Philippines last year also made its bid for a seat at the UN Security Council.

Leaders from ASEAN-member states are in Indonesia this week for the 42nd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, where talks regarding the situations in Myanmar and the South China Sea as well as the human trafficking issue across states take the stage. — Kaycee Valmonte

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