Philippines, Vietnam vow stronger rice trade links amid COVID-19 crisis
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the bilateral cooperation and diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and Vietnam are now much stronger in the face of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This, according to him, was after Hanoi reaffirmed its commitment to continuously supply the Philippines with its rice requirement.
“Our cooperation in the Southeast Asian region, especially with Vietnam, remains intact as we encourage our trading counterparts to refrain from imposing restrictive measures and ensure that existing supply contracts are honored and given priority for delivery,” Dar said.
Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Development said that Hanoi highly values the friendly and cooperative relations with the Philippines within the ASEAN framework and bilateral cooperation on rice trade.
“The government of Vietnam always considers rice trading with the Philippines is not only of economic importance, but also of significance for our good diplomatic relations between the two nations,” Le said in a letter to Secretary Dar.
Vietnam is currently facing prolonged drought and saline intrusion, which greatly affected its rice production and food security.
At present, the government of Vietnam is reviewing its rice production and domestic supply situation to make appropriate rice export management plan.
“We will soon announce and provide information on rice export to the public, business and international partners,” Le said.
Early this week, the DA chief said the Philippines will get commitment from Vietnam to honor previously signed import contracts, totaling 1.25 million metric tons (MT) of rice, comprising 90 percent of 1.37 million MT that has yet to be delivered. The balance of 5 percent each will come from Thailand and Myanmar.
To date, the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) has issued sanitary and phyto sanitary import clearances (SPSIC), covering a total of 1.857 million MT of rice.
As of second week of March, only 492,204 MT has arrived.