February 20, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 236 views

House expresses full support for RCEP deal ratification

THE leadership of the House of Representatives has expressed its full support for the immediate ratification by the Senate of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal, which would hasten benefits such as job opportunities to trickle down to Filipinos.

“By immediately ratifying the RCEP Agreement, the Philippines can sooner benefit and take the advantages of this mega-trade deal that could attract more foreign investors, create more job opportunities, and curb the unemployment and poverty rates in the country,” said Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, one of the principal authors of House Resolution (HR) No. 728, which supports the Senate’s ratification of RCEP.

Joining Romualdez as authors of the measure were Majority Leader and Zambonga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos, and Batangas 5th District Rep. Mario Vittorio “Marvey” Mariño.

They noted that on November 15, 2021, the Philippines signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, a trade agreement that covers trade areas for goods, services and investments, sustainable growth, and business environment involving the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its five other free trade agreement (FTA) partners, namely Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and Republic of Korea.

“Due to various FTAs that the Philippines entered into in the Asia-Pacific Region, there is overlapping of the numerous bilateral FTAs involving different sectors, with varying levels of commitment for tariff reduction and conflicting technical trade rules,” the resolution read.

The RCEP is expected to address this debacle.

According to Romualdez and the other authors, the benefits that the RCEP Agreement will bring to the Philippines “far outweigh the risk, as it will promote greater openness, create a more business-friendly environment, encourage closer integration of economies, and provide a more stable and predictable rules-based system of trade”.

Design as the framework for economic and trade cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region, the RCEP integrates and optimizes the economic and trade rules, including the changing digital landscape that affects intellectual property rights, trade facilitation measures, electronic commerce, and cross-border trade.

The resolution noted that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has summarized the benefits in joining the RCEP Agreement in 4Cs. These are 1) Cheaper cost for sourcing key inputs for the manufacturing sector; 2) Convenience for businesses in trading with key FTA partners; 3) Competitiveness for Philippine industries; and 4) Complementation of existing government programs.

The authors said the RCEP Agreement will encourage foreign investments in the Philippines “and allow greater participation in the areas of digital services, business process outsourcing industry, financial services, aerospace, shipbuilding, research and development, and many others”.

“The recent state visits of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. to Indonesia, Singapore and China not only generated billions of investment pledges but also expanded the economic opportunities of the Philippines by reinforcing foreign ties,” they said.

They further noted DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual’s statement that the tariff liberalization under the RCEP will make preferential market access easier for Philippine exporters, thereby allowing the country to capitalize on potential market gains.