President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong yesterday pledged closer bilateral cooperation in trade and investments, tourism, defense, and security.
The Vietnamese President and his delegation arrived in Manila yesterday for a three-day state visit.
They were welcomed at the airport by Vice President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teofisto Guingona, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Heherson Alvarez, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Nguyen Thac Dinh, and Philippine Air Force commanding general Benjamin Defensor at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
President Arroyo later welcomed the visiting Vietnamese leader in Malacanang where he was accorded full military honors.
Officials of the Philippines and Vietnam yesterday signed an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The two Presidents witnessed the signing of the agrement at the Reception Hall in Malacanang.
Signing the taxation agreement for the Philippines was Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho and for Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Finance Le Thi Bang Tam.
During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to bring the Philippine-Vietnamese relations to a higher level of cooperation and understanding, particularly in the light of the hosting by Manila of the RP-Vietnam Joint Commission next year.
The two leaders said they are looking forward to increased economic ties between their countries.
According to President Arroyo, the Joint Commission which meets next year would be able to address issues of mutual concern to the Philippines and Vietnam, including the repatriation of Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines and counter trade.
Arroyo is also looking forward to the Vietnamese government's support on the protection and security of Philippine investments in Vietnam by large Filipio-owned corporations.
She noted the Vietnam's support for the possible repatriation to a third country of Vietnamese refugees who do not qualify for Filipino citizenship.
President Tran Duc Luong said his government will fully support the counter trade proposal of the Philippine government.
The Philippines has been importing rice from Vietnam, one of the major rice exporting countries in the world.
President Arroyo hosted a state banquet for the visiting Vietnamese President and his delegation at the Malacanang Ceremonial Hall.
President Tran Duc Luong will visit today the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos Laguna and tour the Walled City of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila.
He will attend a luncheon hosted by Vice President Guingona at the Manila Hotel's Champagne Room.
The Vietnamese leader will also meet with members of the Philippine-Vietnam Business Council at the Manila Hotel Ballroom.
He will depart for Vietnam on Friday at 2 p.m.
Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Vietnam were established on July 12, 1976 with the signing of the Joint Communique by then Foreign Minister Carlos P. Romulo and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Phan Hlen.
Off for US
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left last night for the United States and she is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6:15 p.m. (Pacific time).
In San Francisco, she will meet with members of the Filipino community, ffollowed by a town-hall meeting and a Fil-Am media press conference.
The President and her delegation will depart for New York City, where she is expected to arrive at 6:15 a. …