The Philippines and Vietnam are seeking stronger cooperation in areas beyond agriculture trade, Malacañang said, with the leaders of the neighboring countries eyeing to boost their respective tourism sectors.
During his bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the sidelines of the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said the two governments should “strengthen our relationship to be beyond just in trading in rice.”
Tourism, Marcos noted, is an important area "for us to develop stronger relations"
“So I think that this is an important area to... for us to develop stronger relations. Because that is the way that we will derive strength from each other, from ASEAN, from our member states, from also our agreements that we make between the two countries,” said Marcos.
“I think is something that we, the Philippines, are ready to initiate and we will after this start to make contact especially between our foreign service and eventually maybe even with our military leaders," he added.
Aside from this, the President said the Philippines can also strengthen its cooperation with the Southeast Asian neighbor on trade and investment, agriculture, and defense and security.
“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," he said.
Prime Minister Pham vowed he would continue to work with the country on trade promotion most especially on products it can afford "to provide a long term strategic supply."
“And if you can ensure a long term strategic cooperation in the provision of such goods both and ensure stability both in terms of the goods themselves and have their price, that would help us to be better resilient to external shocks in the years to come," said Pham.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed Vietnam was the major supplier of agricultural products to the Philippines. as of October 2022.
The country contributed $420.38 million or nearly 27 percent to the total agricultural imports from any ASEAN-member countries during the second quarter last year, said the PSA.
"Vietnam accounted for the highest import value among ASEAN member countries," the PSA report read.
Vietnam was also the major source of the country's rice imports at 80 percent, accounting for $910 million.