Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. signed a memorandum of understanding with Minister Nguyen Hong Dien of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam to enhance cooperation on rice trade. The MOU creates a framework for the promotion of sustainable rice trade cooperation that meets the common interests of the Philippines and Viet Nam. Under the MOU, Viet Nam commits to supply the Philippines with 1.5 – 2 million metric tons of white rice annually.
For a duration of five years, the two agencies will also pursue other cooperation activities, such as exchange of information on rice production, crop situation, import and export needs, among others. The Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will also cooperate to ensure that rice from Viet Nam complies with food safety and plant health requirements of the Philippines. To further facilitate smooth trade and help ensure food security, the two ministries agreed to closely coordinate to address illegal rice trade and consult with each other in advance of any imposition of export measures that could hinder or delay exportations.
“While DA is focused in improving capacities for increased agricultural productivity, it is equally imperative to maintain a robust trade to help ensure food security, in particular, the supply of rice, especially in challenging times,” says Secretary Tiu Laurel Jr. He added that, “Viet Nam is an important trading partner of the Philippines in agricultural commodities. It is, in fact, our third largest trading partner in the ASEAN region in terms of overall value of agricultural trade. Around 80% of our rice imports are from Viet Nam, and the Philippine market accounts for over 40% of Viet Nam’s rice exports.”
Aside from cooperation on rice trade, the Department also formalized the agreement on cooperation in the field of agriculture with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Secretary Tiu Laurel Jr. and Minister Le Minh Hoan agreed to further strengthen existing bilateral relations in agriculture and update the previous cooperation agreement signed in 1999. The new memorandum of understanding will promote and intensify mutual support between the Philippines and Viet Nam in areas covering high value crops, livestock (including dairy), and aquaculture production and development; post-harvest facilities and food processing; digital and climate-smart agriculture; agri-fisheries mechanization; among others.
During his bilateral meeting with Minister Le Minh Hoan, Secretary Tiu Laurel articulated, “The Philippines puts high importance to its bilateral relations with Viet Nam in the field of agriculture, and it considers Viet Nam a key partner in the effort to transform the agriculture sector of the Philippines as well.”
The two agreements were signed during the State Visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to Hanoi, Viet Nam on January 29-30, 2024. The exchange of bilateral documents was witnessed by President Marcos and Viet Nam’s President Vo Van Thuong.
On the margins of the State Visit, Secretary Tiu Laurel Jr. also witnessed the signing of memoranda of agreements and understanding between three Philippine and eight Vietnamese enterprises on rice supply and food value chain. ###