Philippines and Vietnam Sign MOUs for Enhanced Rice Trade Cooperation

In a significant move to enhance cooperation in rice trade and agriculture, 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. The MOU establishes a framework for sustainable rice trade cooperation that aligns with the shared interests of the Philippines and Viet Nam.

Under the MOU, Viet Nam has committed to supplying the Philippines with 1.5 – 2 million metric tons of white rice annually. This agreement is set to span a duration of five years, during which the two agencies will also engage in various other cooperative activities. These activities include exchanging information on rice production, crop situations, import and export needs, and more.

Both the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will work together to ensure that rice from Viet Nam meets the food safety and plant health requirements of the Philippines. Additionally, the two ministries have agreed to closely coordinate efforts to address the illegal rice trade and consult with each other before imposing any export measures that could hinder or delay trade.

Secretary Tiu Laurel Jr. emphasized the importance of maintaining a robust trade to ensure food security, particularly in challenging times. He highlighted that Viet Nam is a crucial trading partner for the Philippines in agricultural commodities, ranking as the third largest trading partner in the ASEAN region in terms of overall agricultural trade value. Furthermore, approximately 80% of the Philippines’ rice imports come from Viet Nam, making the Philippine market account for over 40% of Viet Nam’s rice exports.

Besides the cooperation on rice trade, the Department of Agriculture also formalized an agreement on agricultural cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Secretary Tiu Laurel Jr. and Minister Le Minh Hoan pledged to strengthen existing bilateral relations in agriculture and update the previous cooperation agreement signed in 1999.

The new memorandum of understanding aims to promote and intensify mutual support between the Philippines and Viet Nam in various areas. These areas include high-value crops, livestock (including dairy), aquaculture production and development, post-harvest facilities and food processing, digital and climate-smart agriculture, and agri-fisheries mechanization, among others.

During a bilateral meeting with Minister Le Minh Hoan, Secretary Tiu Laurel expressed the Philippines’ high regard for its agricultural bilateral relations with Viet Nam. He emphasized that Viet Nam is a key partner in the Philippines’ efforts to transform its agriculture sector.

The signing of these two agreements took place 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.

As part 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 the food value chain.

The signing of these agreements marks an important step towards strengthening cooperation between the Philippines and Viet Nam in the crucial areas of rice trade and agriculture. By working together, both countries can ensure a sustainable and secure food supply while fostering economic growth and development.


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