Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. agreed to promote the countries' bilateral strategic partnership in all fields, including rice trading.
The two leaders reached the agreement at their talks in Hanoi on Tuesday, as part of the two-day visit to Vietnam by the Philippine leader and his spouse at the invitation of Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong.
PM Chinh expressed sincere appreciation for President Marcos' inaugural visit to Vietnam since assuming office in 2022, emphasizing its potential to enhance and strengthen the friendly relations and diverse cooperation between the two nations.
Airing admiration for Vietnam’s outstanding socio-economic development achievements in recent years, President Marcos affirmed that the Philippines treasures and wishes to bring the strategic partnership between the two countries to a higher level.
The two sides discussed measures to strengthen economic, trade, and investment cooperation, striving to bring two-way trade to US$10 billion by 2025, when the two nations celebrate 10 years of their strategic partnership.
This target is about $2.2 billion higher than that in 2023, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
PM Chinh and President Marcos pledged to create a favorable trade and investment environment for Vietnamese and Philippine businesses, especially those engaging in processing technologies, infrastructure, auto supporting industries, renewable energy, and hi-tech agriculture.
Regarding rice trade, the Vietnamese government chief called on the two sides to effectively implement the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on rice trade cooperation signed earlier the same day after the Philippine leader had talks with President Thuong.
This is one of the important cooperation areas, not only for mutual economic benefits but also for ensuring food security and demonstrating the solidarity between the two sides, Chinh stressed.
The two leaders mutually agreed to advance defense, security, and maritime cooperation between Vietnam and the Philippines.
They also promised to promptly reinstate the operational mechanism of a joint committee for seas and oceans, operating at the deputy foreign minister level.
The two nations will enhance the effectiveness of joint patrols and sea-based search and rescue missions.
They will also strengthen collaboration in preventing various crimes, such as drug-related offenses, cybercrime, high-tech crime, and economic crime.
PM Chinh and President Marcos appreciated Hanoi and Manila's close coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums, emphasized the maintenance of solidarity and the central role of ASEAN, and showed their determination to build a strong, united, and resilient ASEAN Community.
The two leaders agreed to foster close coordination with other ASEAN countries and the bloc's partners to maintain and implement ASEAN's common viewpoint on the East Vietnam Sea, ensuring the full and serious implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), accelerating the building of an effective and efficient Code of Conduct (COC) for the waterway in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Before his meeting with PM Chinh, President Marcos held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Vo Van Thuong on the same day, focusing on steps to promote bilateral cooperation.
The guest thanked Vietnam for being ready to provide the Philippines with a stable and long-term supply of rice.
After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of five cooperation agreements, including the aforementioned MoU on rice trading and four others on agriculture, art and culture, maritime, and prevention and management of incidents in the East Vietnam Sea.
After 48 years of diplomatic relations, the relationship between Vietnam and the Philippines has developed vigorously in various areas, including two-way trade that reached $7.8 billion last year.
The Philippines continues to be Vietnam’s largest rice export market, with shipments reaching 3.1 million metric tons and valued at $1.75 billion in 2023, an increase of 17.6 percent in value year on year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Currently, the Philippines is Vietnam’s 6th-largest trading partner in ASEAN and 16th in the world.