By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday urged the Vietnamese business community to consider the Philippines as an investment hub for their expansion plans.

“I encourage the esteemed Vietnamese businesses to look to the Philippines as their partner for expansion,” Marcos said in his remarks during a working luncheon with the Vietnamese and Filipino business community hosted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi.

“The Philippines can serve as a secondary location in support of your manufacturing operations in Viet Nam, especially in key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, automotive, and services,” he added.

In his meeting with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, Marcos acknowledged Vietnam’s crucial role in the Philippines’ development.

Marcos said Vietnam continues to be the Philippines’ “steadfast partner,” considering the “robust bond” between the two nations.

“I am also very happy to be able to report that the Vietnamese community that has grown in the Philippines is continuing to flourish. They have contributed greatly through our society, to our workforce and have become a very crucial part now of the areas where they live. They have formed communities that, again, are much appreciated by the Filipinos,” he said.

Citing the immense trade opportunities between the two nations, Marcos said the Philippines seeks to expand bilateral trade with Vietnam to USD10 billion from the current USD7 billion by exploring untapped resources.

On Monday, Marcos met with the executives of Vietnamese real estate firm Vingroup Company and was informed of the firm’s plan to invest in the Philippines for the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Marcos embarked on a state visit to Vietnam, with a hope to attract more foreign investments.

The Philippines and Vietnam have a total trade amounting to USD6.18 billion in 2022, with exports valued at USD1.72 billion and imports at USD4.46 billion. The USD2.74-billion balance of trade is in favor of Vietnam.

There are an estimated 7,003 Filipinos in Vietnam. In 2022, remittances from Filipino workers amounted to USD13,683,000.

The Philippines and Vietnam established formal diplomatic ties on July 12, 1976 and elevated their relations to a Strategic Partnership in 2015. (PNA)