Truong made this assurance against the creation of a "price rice fixing mechanism" during his audience at Thursday's Vietnam-Philippine Business Council forum organised by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While clarifying that OREC is not a Vietnam initiative, the Vietnamese president said that if ever his country will participate in OREC, he will make sure it will not become a "price rice fixing mechanism."

OREC is reportedly composed of rice producing and exporting counties Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Aside from Vietnam, the Philippines largest rice supplier, the Philippines also imports from Thailand. The Philippines is the world' largest rice importer.

In the same event, Truong said that the $3 billion bilateral trade target by 2016 could be further raised by adding one or two zeros into it. The current bilateral trade level between the two countries is placed at $2.1 billion.

As of the first semester this year, Vietnam has already shipped $307 million worth of rice to the Philippines against Philippine exports of fertiliser and other minor mineral products.

Vietnam has even acknowledged of benefiting from the Philippines' rice technology from the International Rice Research Institute to further the development of its rice sector.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo expressed optimism that both countries shall exceed last year's bilateral trade of $732 million.

To push for improvements in economic relations, the private sector has agreed to strengthen cooperation through increased trade and investment activities.

The huge Vietnamese exports to the Philippines have made Vietnam, the 12th largest trading partner of the Philippines, Domingo said.

Aside from its strong exports to the Philippines, Vietnam is also benefiting from the Philippines in terms of foreign direct investments by Filipino firms.

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat - Manila Bulletin - October 28, 2011