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DTI upbeat RCEP trade deal will get Senate nod

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is optimistic to get the Senate approval of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade deal in which the Philippines is a signatory.

The RCEP, a trade accord that involves the 10-member ASEAN along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, was approved by the Palace in September last year and brought to the Senate for concurrence.

Treaties or international agreements entered into by the government require Senate concurrence.

“Hopefully our senators can act on this RCEP this month,” Trade Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty said at a virtual forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines on Wednesday.

Gepty said the DTI “will try our best” to get the Senate’s thumbs up on the RCEP when the Congress resumes session on May 23, 2022.

Gepty earlier said the gains and opportunities that the agreement will create cannot be overemphasized.

“The size of the market alone and the extent of economic activities happening in the region demands that the country must be part of this free trade area. This is not to mention that this is an ASEAN-led FTA”, Gepty previously said.

More than being the largest free trade area, the RCEP represents 50% of the global manufacturing output; 50% of global automotive output; 70% of electronics; 26% of Global Value Chain (GVC) Trade Volume; 60% GVC for Electrical/Machinery, Petroleum/Chemicals, Textile/Apparel, Metal & Transport Equipment, 35% Contribution to Global Exports of Electronics and Machineries; and the main GVC hubs of big economies such as South Korea, Japan and China.

For the Philippines, the RCEP is expected to generate a 10.47% increase in the country’s exports and 2.02% increase in real gross domestic product, according to the DTI.

In November last year, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez signed the RCEP trade pact on behalf of the Philippines at the conclusion of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

Rice and other agricultural produce are protected from tariff reductions and eliminations under the RCEP, the Trade department earlier said.

Some experts, however, have objected to the trade deal, warning of risks to local industries.—LDF, GMA News