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Pascual renews push for ratification of RCEP

Catherine Talavera – The Philippine Star
August 25, 2022 | 12:00am


Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual reiterated the need to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to attract foreign investments into the country.

In a Senate hearing Monday, Pascual stressed the importance of the ratification of the RCEP by the Senate, emphasizing that prospective investors, including foreign chambers, have been asking how soon the trade deal would be ratified.

“Because the companies under their respective jurisdictions are asking them before they consider investments in the Philippines,” he said.

The RCEP is a multilateral trade agreement between and among ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It provides for an open, inclusive and rules-based trading system to promote deeper economic integration in the region.

The trade deal is expected to boost Philippine exports through enhanced market access in the region. It would provide cheaper goods for production and manufacturing, as well as ensure transparent rules and clear mechanisms for resolving trade issues and concerns, and also allow micro, small and medium enterprises to participate in the global value chain.

The proposed Senate resolution to confirm RCEP was not voted upon during the last session day of the 18th Congress, indicating that the RCEP was not ratified.

Pascual earlier said that without the RCEP and other foreign trade agreements (FTAs), the Philippines would not be an attractive location for such types of export-oriented enterprises.

He said the push to ratify the RCEP is aligned with the DTI’s strategic priority to create an enabling environment for attracting investments and expanding exports.

Pascual said the country has the least number of FTAs in the ASEAN region with only 10 FTAs.

This is in contrast to Singapore, which signed 27 FTAs, Malaysia 17, and Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam (15 each).

He emphasized the need for more FTAs to diversify the country’s exports in terms of products and services and country destinations, as well as enhance the country’s attractiveness to foreign investments.

“Most foreign investments in China, for instance, are export-oriented industries. They are from big multinationals having transferred their production facilities to China and using China as a production place,” he said.