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Trade chief says no need for JPEPA side accord | 11/19/2007

Trade chief says no need for JPEPA side accord

By Tetch Torres

SINGAPORE (Via PLDT) — There is no need for a supplemental agreement to clear doubts on the contents of the proposed Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said here.

Favila said clarificatory statements or an exchange of diplomatic notes would be enough to clarify the "toxic issues" of the JPEPA.

"I think that is the best way to proceed,” he said. “Renegotiation would be very difficult. The exchange of notes would be the best avenue."

Favila’s comments followed those of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, who said a side agreement would address criticisms of the JPEPA and should contain a promise of Japan to abide by provisions of the Philippine Constitution in the conduct of trade with the Philippines.

Favila said an exchange of notes would become part of the agreement and that officials of the Department of Trade and Industry had already coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regarding one.

The constitutionality of the JPEPA is under question, with a petition pending before the Philippine Supreme Court.

The JPEPA seeks facilitate the flow of goods, persons, services and capital between the Philippines and Japan.

It was first proposed by then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2002 during a Tokyo visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Its critics say the JPEPA should not be ratified by the Senate, noting there has been no full public disclosure of its contents.

 source: Inquirer