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Philippines-Japan trade deal opposed

All Headline News | July 18, 2007

Philippines-Japan Trade Deal Opposed

Windsor Genova - AHN

Manila, Philippines (AHN) — A multi-sectoral group has renewed its opposition to a bilateral trade agreement between the Philippines and Japan by calling on the Senate not to ratify the deal when it opens session on Monday.

The local business daily Business Mirror reports that the Magkaisa Junk Jpepa Coalition is urging the Senate to reject the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi signed on September 9, 2006 in Helsinki, Finland.

The agreement provides for zero tariff on the trade on meats and poultry, fruits, asparagus, asbestos, films, waste and sewage sludge, medical and surgical items, masking tape, books, garments, fabrics, yarns, textiles, car parts, steel, resins and plasma TVs.

The Business Mirror quoted the coalition as saying, "Investment and trade liberalization cannot improve the country’s competitiveness for as long as the government fails to address the root causes of economic malaise."

A primer prepared by the coalition, which is composed of health care workers, labor groups, farmers, fisherfolk, environmental and trade advocates and educators, enumerated the economic problems besetting the country. These are lack of public and private investment and capital formation, macroeconomic instability, corruption, poor infrastructure, high electricity cost, high cost of doing business and contracting, regulatory uncertainty, and poor investment in human development and labor productivity.

Former Philippine Vice President Teofisto Guingona is urging opponents of the agreement to lobby against its ratification in the Senate. Guingona believes that the deal is one-sided in favor of Japan.

 source: AHN