Philippines, Vietnam to expand trade ties to $10 billion

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Philippines, Vietnam to expand trade ties to $10 billion
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong during a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on January 30, 2024.
PPA pool photos by KJ Rosales

HANOI — The Philippines and Vietnam will explore untapped areas for cooperation to expand their bilateral trade from $7 billion to $10 billion in the coming years, according to President Marcos.

In a meeting at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday, Marcos told Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh that he sees a number of opportunities on trade and investments for the two countries.

“The Philippines is committed to enhancing and fortifying our economic, trade and investment ties with Vietnam,” Marcos said.

“Our objective is to expand our bilateral trade, which stands at just about $7 billion today, to $10 billion by exploring untapped resources. And in time, hopefully the balance between our imports and exports will move to a more equitable ratio,” he said.

Vietnam is the Philippines’ 11th largest trade partner globally and the fifth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Marcos said the Philippines hopes to capitalize on its ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP to maintain the upward trend in its trade with Vietnam.

Last year, the Senate concurred with the Philippine government’s ratification of RCEP, the largest free trade agreement between ASEAN and its partners Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Marcos also touted the country’s 5.9 percent economic growth in the third quarter of 2023, making the Philippines one of the strongest economies in Asia.

He told Chinh that the US credit rating agency, Fitch Rating, affirmed the Philippines’ “BBB” rating, which is a notch above the minimum investment grade, and has kept the outlook as “stable.”

“This reflects the government’s efforts to implement structural economic reforms, including the enactment of the Public-Private Partnership Code in December, which will streamline the PPP processes and address the Philippines’ large infrastructure gaps,” Marcos said.

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.

Marcos arrived in Manila at 2:47 a.m. yesterday after a two-day state visit here, which he described as “very productive.”

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