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The governments of Japan and the Philippines reached a basic political agreement on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) on 29 November 2004 at the ASEAN Summit in Laos. The agreement was then signed in Helsinki on 9 September 2006 and came into force on 11 December 2008. It was the Philippines’ first free trade agreement and Japan’s fourth.

JPEPA was and remains hugely controversial. Filipinos — and on some issues, Japanese groups — mobilised to stop the deal for many reasons, including the following:

 the small job market openings for Filipino healthcare workers are very limited (the workers must learn Japanese, undergo equivalency exams, stay for only a restricted time etc) and overlook the real potential for abuse of Filipino workers in Japan;
 concerns that Japan will gain access to and be able to overfish Philippine waters, ruining the livelihoods of small fisherfolk;
 any supposed benefits for increased pineapple and banana exports to Japan would in fact go to corporations like Dole and Del Monte, and their local business partners, who own and run the plantations in the Philippines — not to small or landless Filipino farmers;
 its unconstitutionality, since JPEPA allows Japanese corporations to own land, operate schools and practice certain professions in the Philippines which the Philippine Constitution does not allow;
 the huge imbalances in the deal, e.g. Japan excluded almost 200 tariff lines from the agreement, the Philippines only six; and
 the fact that JPEPA gives explicit legal ground for Japan to dump toxic wastes in the Philippines.

last update: May 2012
Photo: Karasantos / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Japan, RP agree on garments trade
While the Philippines and Japan still remained locked on three issues to finalize their Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), both parties have agreed in principle for a zero for zero arrangement on the trade of garments and textile.
Labor issues to delay Japan-Philippines FTA
The signing of an economic partnership agreement between Japan and the Philippines is likely to be pushed back to at least the end of the year due to disagreements over investment protections and quotas for care providers.
No quota under proposed JPEPA
The Japanese government is considering the position of the Philippines that there should be no quota and volume limit on the entry of Filipino IT and medical professionals to Japan but rather the entry of Filipino labor to Japan be driven by demand and qualification.
JPEPA: News in brief
The Philippines government is completing its "clean-up drive" on the country’s legal and dispute settlement mechanism before finally giving its final go signal to the implementation of the country’s first bilateral free trade area (FTA) deal, the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
Trade alliance seeks transparency on Japan-RP FTA negotiations
The multi-sectoral Fair Trade Alliance (FTA) has urged the government for transparency in the crafting of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) as it expressed fears that the deal does not provide "safeguards" to the country’s industrial goods and includes regulation and competition issues.
NGO coalition bucks free trade talks with Japan
A coalition of non-government organizations is opposing the free trade talks under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) saying the Philippines would wind up as the losing party if the deal pushes through.
Vigilance related to the Philippine-Japan Free Trade Agreement
While in Japan, our attention has been called to thoroughly examine the free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and the Philippines
Filipinos protest lopsided Japan-RP deal; demand disclosure of Japan-RP trade negotiations
The SNR Coalition scored today the ongoing negotiations for a bilateral trade agreeement between the Japan and Philippine governments called Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) which was to be completed and signed in July of this year.
Economic Partnership Agreements and the "East Asian Community" - The Meaning of the Japan-Philippines EPA
Except for the areas of trade in goods and work permits for Filipino nurses, what will be achieved through the Japan-Philippines EPA is nothing more than maintaining the status quo.
Automakers holding up JPEPA
Issues involving tariff protection and reduction on automotive products have delayed the conclusion of talks over the planned Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).


  • Magkaisa Junk JPEPA
    Multisectoral effort to defeat an unfair and environmentally unjust bilateral trade agreement with Japan