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Marcos reiterates push for RCEP ratification

TOKYO - President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who is in Japan on an official visit, reiterated during Friday's Philippine Business Opportunities Forum his administration’s push for the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega free trade deal, of which the Philippines is a signatory.

Recently, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) released a statement that said Marcos was pushing for the free trade agreement's ratification.

First floated in August 2012, the RCEP involves the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

It was approved by the previous administration in September last year and brought to the Senate for concurrence.

Before he took office, Marcos expressed reservations about the RCEP, saying he wanted to look at how it would impact the country’s agriculture sector.

However, in his Philippine Business Opportunities Forum address, Marcos said that his “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.”

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri had said he expected the chamber to ratify the trade accord within this month, despite his colleagues' reservations, particularly those of the President’s sister - Senator Imee Marcos.

“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% of products from the Philippines,” said the President.

During the panel session, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said that “many prospective foreign investors… who would want to access ASEAN and the East Asian market said they would consider the Philippines if we were part of RCEP.”

Pascual said the Philippines risked being “bypassed in favor of other ASEAN countries that have access or ratified their accession to RCEP.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects the RCEP to generate a 10.47% increase in the country’s exports and a 2.02% increase in real gross domestic product.

The RCEP represents 50% of the global manufacturing output; 50% of the global automotive output; 70% of electronics; 26% of the global value chain (GVC) trade volume; 60% GVC for electrical/machinery, petroleum/chemicals, textiles/apparel, metal, and transport equipment, 35% of the contribution to global exports of electronics and machineries; and the main GVC hubs of big economies such as South Korea, Japan, and China. — DVM, GMA Integrated News