Manila Bulletin | 13 May 2022
DTI bats for two more major trade deals
by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Aside from the Philippines’ pending accession to the mega free trade deal Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is also strongly pushing for the country’s participation in two other major trade deals.
DTI Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty said at the virtual Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) Webinars tacking spiraling prices of commodities the agency has been working on the country’s participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
“We have also manifested strong interest to join CPTPP and the recently tabled Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). In sum, the country’s trade policy direction is clear, thus, it is imperative upon us to be consistent in our actions and decisions, and pursue a stable and predictable economic partnership with our trading partners,” said Gepty.
CPTPP is a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. CPTPP was signed by the 11 countries on 8 March 2018 in Santiago, Chile.
The agreement is a separate treaty that incorporates, by reference, the provisions of the TPP. The 11 member countries have a shared vision of the CPTPP as a platform that is open to others to join if they are able to meet its high standards.
The CPTPP recognizes the challenges facing Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in establishing export markets, and includes outcomes to help make this task easier in the CPTPP region.
Meantime, the IPEF is still an evolving initiative of the US President Biden as his administration’s centerpiece for economic strategy toward the critical region.
Based on studies, IPEF will consist of four pillars of work: fair and resilient trade (including digital, labor, environmental and other standards); supply chain resilience; infrastructure, decarbonization and clean energy; and tax and anti-corruption.
Negotiations on the respective pillars are expected to be made ahead of the US-hosted Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in November 2023.
The Philippines has yet to accede though in RCEP. President Duterte already ratified RCEP, but Senate did not concur with Malacanang’s ratification in the international treaty.