MANILA, Philippines — The Federation of Philippine Industries Inc. (FPI) is supporting calls for the Senate to immediately approve the country’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
In a letter to the Senate, the FPI said it is seeking the Senate’s immediate concurrence of the RCEP.
“We believe that the Philippines will immensely benefit from this trade agreement as the same will strengthen and enhance the country’s market access to goods and business services within the participating countries,” FPI president Jesus Arranza said.
He said the trade agreement is expected to create employment opportunities in various sectors including professional, education, and banking services.
He said micro, small, and medium enterprises are likewise expected to benefit from RCEP through cheaper raw materials for production and manufacturing, and access to an integrated market for their products and services.
When it comes to agriculture, he said farmers are expected to gain as sensitive agricultural products such as rice, corn, coffee, meat, garlic, and sugar have been excluded from tariff liberalization.
He said “our local farmers can also reap a significant number of benefits as they will have better access to cheaper farm inputs and farm implements that can be used to boost their production. They may even be encouraged in the long run to increase production or diversify agricultural products to access the huge market,” he said.
RCEP, which creates the world’s largest free trade area, was signed in November 2020.
Last Jan.1, the trade agreement entered into force for Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand.
For South Korea, the RCEP will start to be implemented on Feb.1.
Ratified by President Duterte in September last year, the RCEP is currently being deliberated by the Senate for concurrence.
Earlier, various local and foreign business groups, as well as investment promotion agencies have called on the Senate to immediately concur with the ratification of the RCEP agreement.