Phl seeks deeper eco­nomic ties with Rus­sia, Viet­nam

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By RICH­MOND MER­CU­RIO

The Philip­pines will seek to deepen eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with Rus­sia and Viet­nam through the con­ven­ing of sep­a­rate Joint Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion (JEC) next week.

“Next week, we will have a JEC with Viet­nam and also with Rus­sia. Th­ese are vice min­is­ter-led dis­cus­sions with Viet­nam and Rus­sia,” Trade Un­der­sec­re­tary Ce­ferino Rodolfo said.

A JEC serves as a plat­form to dis­cuss trade, in­vest­ments, eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and other re­lated mat­ters be­tween two na­tions.

“For Rus­sia, what’s very crit­i­cal is in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy and high-tech in­dus­tries that in­clude satel­lite, elec­tron­ics, bat­tery cap­ture tech­nolo­gies and aerospace. So we will have a lot to dis­cuss with Rus­sia, that is just one part,” Rodolfo said.

He said also a topic for dis­cus­sion is agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, es­pe­cially as Rus­sia last year com­mit­ted to buy $2.5 bil­lion worth of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from the Philip­pines.

“For in­stance, there are prod­ucts that they are sourc­ing from South Amer­ica which en­ter through Vladi­vos­tok. What we are say­ing is that the Philip­pines is nearer to Vladi­vos­tok. So it’s very vi­able for some of our prod­ucts com­ing from Min­danao go­ing to the Rus­sian mar­ket. The Rus­sian mar­ket is also an al­ter­na­tive to our tra­di­tional mar­kets,” Rodolfo said.

The trade of­fi­cial said the coun­try is also look­ing at tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the Gen­er­al­ized Scheme of Pref­er­ences of Rus­sia through the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union.

Rus­sia is seen as among the coun­try’s new part­ners and al­lies un­der the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s for­eign pol­icy.

For Viet­nam, Rodolfo said the Philip­pines hopes to dis­cuss and iden­tify ar­eas where both coun­tries could work and ben­e­fit from.

“So in gen­eral, what we are after with th­ese JECs and free trade agree­ments is to­ward di­ver­si­fy­ing our ex­port base and also con­sol­i­dat­ing those near to us like China, ASEAN coun­tries and Rus­sia,” he said.

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