PH to set up joint economic panels with Vietnam, Russia

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THE Philippines will set up joint economic commissions (JECs) with Vietnam and Russia next week to discuss enhancing trade in garments and agricultural products, among others, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said on Thursday.

“Next week we will have the JEC with Vietnam and Russia. For Vietnam, we will talk about the garments excess capacity,” Rodolfo said.

The JEC with Russia will focus on trade and cooperation in infrastructure, energy and high-technology industries, including satellite, high-tech electronics, battery storage technologies, aerospace, and most of all in agricultural products “because they committed to purchase agricultural products worth $2.5 billion, and we are already looking at very specific products,” the trade official added.

In November 2016, Russia committed to buy up to $2.5-billion worth of Philippine fruit, grains or vegetables.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Russian side agreed “immediately” to a proposal for the importation of Philippine fruit and other agricultural products in the next 12 months.

“So in general, what we are looking for JECs and FTAs [free trade agreements]is toward diversifying our export base and also consolidating the nearest, like China and Asean countries,” Rodolfo added.

The Asean members consist of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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