By Philippine News Agency
The Philippines will be meeting separately with Vietnam and Russia next week to discuss possible signing of Joint Economic Commission (JECs)agreement, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said in a briefing Thursday.
Rodolfo said a JEC with Vietnam is crucial for the country as it can take advantage of the ASEAN neighbor’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union and its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
He said the dialogue with Vietnam would focus on cooperation on how to facilitate Vietnam’s excess capacity in some critical products like garments, in anticipation of its trade deals.
“We can talk on how we can cooperate in the excess capacity. For example, we can produce the garments here because that’s labor intensive, and we are also after job generation, then we export it to US and EU,” the trade official said in Filipino.
He added that the JEC with Vietnam would be aligned with the country’s VIP (Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines) strategy in the region, aiming to boost economic cooperation with the three ASEAN member states, which account for half or up to two-thirds of the ASEAN market.
On the other hand, the JEC with Russia focuses on cooperation in sectors of infrastructure, energy, high-technology industries, and aerospace.
In January, Rodolfo had bilateral meeting with Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexander Tsybulskiy, discussing the JEC between the two countries that might be signed next week.
Rodolfo also said that Russia had committed to purchase USD2.5 billion worth of agricultural products from the Philippines.
He noted that most of the commodities that would be imported from the Philippines soon included products that were currently shipped from South America.
Vladivostok, Russia’s major port city, is nearer to the Philippines than South America, Rodolfo pointed out.
He added that the purchase deal is viable for agricultural products coming from Mindanao.
Rodolfo said the country could take advantage of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) with Russia through the Eurasian Economic Union.
In the Generalized Preferential System of Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia approved by the Intergovernmental Council EurAsEC (Eurasian Economic Community) and Customs Union Commission, the Philippines is among the beneficiaries of GSP of the three Eurasian member-countries.
The trade official noted that the country’s GSP with Russia remained underutilized. But, with the economic cooperation between the two countries, the Philippines and Russia are seen to boost its investment and trade relations.
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