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Philippines: RCEP to restore business confidence amid COVID-19 crisis

The Philippines welcomed the signing of the free trade agreement involving countries that comprise nearly a third of the global economy.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact on behalf of the Philippines at the conclusion of the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits on Sunday.

In a statement delivered by Lopez, the Philippines called RCEP a “major milestone” towards greater economic integration, recovery, and prosperity.

“It will spur investments, boost job generation, and improve standards of living in the region. More importantly, the Agreement will restore business confidence amid the economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Philippine statement said.

The RCEP includes the 10-member ASEAN along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. India pulled out of negotiations last year reportedly over various concerns, including possible influx of cheap Chinese products. 

The RCEP is expected to strengthen regional economic development through easier market access for goods and services, as well as stabilize the market predictability on trade regulations and rules. —LDF, GMA News