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Free Trade Deal will Boost PH Economy

Free trade deal will boost PH economy By Andrea Bancud QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) is committed to pushing for the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega free trade deal. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes the RCEP would be good for the country as it will bring increased trade to different member countries. According to the Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Department, RCEP is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the ten-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and ASEAN's free trade agreement partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. FTAs are treaties between two or more countries designed to reduce or eliminate certain barriers to trade and investment, and to facilitate stronger trade and commercial ties between participating countries. Once ratified by all initial signatories, RCEP will be the world’s largest free trade agreement by members’ GDP. The Philippines is the only country among its Southeast Asian neighbors that has not ratified the RCEP. President Marcos clarified that he is not lobbying for RCEP in Congress, but waiting for it to be ratified. “So, we are leaving ourselves out there, isolating ourselves from the free trade zone that ASEAN is. So sayang naman ‘yung opportunity. That’s why I think RCEP will be a good thing,” the chief executive said. With hearings currently at the sub-committee level, the Philippine Senate has been deliberating on RCEP. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Loren Legarda expressed commitment to both defend the ratification of RCEP on the Senate floor. Zubiri said RCEP was the “talk of the town” during the Philippine delegation’s meetings with government and business leaders in Tokyo. In an interview, President Marcos answered some comments saying the measure will go against the government’s self-sufficiency goal. “I don’t see the logic in that. Actually, it will be the contrary because… right now kung wala tayo sa RCEP, hindi natin ma-access ang kanilang mga markets. Iyong mga – lalo na ‘yung mga supply chain na available na ibinigay ngayon sa ASEAN,” the President said. He added that the Philippines is going to continue increasing its investment in the agricultural value chain to make it more competitive. According to him, RCEP will allow the country to further strengthen its agricultural value chain. “It opens more trade, more trade. And lagi kong sinasabi ‘di ba walang yumaman na bansa kung hindi dahil sa trade at kailangan we have to involve ourselves in that,” Marcos stressed. In his speech during the Philippines Business Opportunities Forum, the President said, “This administration is pushing for the Congressional ratification – which I am promised will be coming soon — of the Philippines’ participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. This free-trade agreement among Southeast Asian economies, plus Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, will result in greater market access for 92 percent of products from the Philippines.” Free trade agreements will help the Philippines obtain more foreign investments to further boost the economy. (ARB, PIA-CPSD) Source: Photo courtesy of Philippine Information Agency


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