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Philippine trade chief urges senate to ratify RCEP

By:Xinhua   Update:2022-01-25
MANILA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines' Department of Trade and Industry on Monday urged the country's senate to quickly ratify the country's membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest free trade deal.
 
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez warned of the negative impact on the economy if the country continues to delay the ratification of the mega trade deal, emphasizing that the Philippines' economic gains have accrued under globalization and free trade agreements.
 
"Not joining RCEP or delaying our participation will disrupt this momentum. Investments will shy away from the country not participating. There will be capital flight and lost investment opportunities," Lopez said.
 
He told the legislature that RCEP would support the Philippines' inclusion in global chains and improve economic efficiency. "It is not just a simple trade agreement that provides enhanced market access and stable business environment. It is a strategic tool to sustain the region's economic advantage," Lopez said.
 
The trade chief also warned that a delay in ratification would hamper job creation and economic activity, as trade and investments would be diverted from the country to competitors within RCEP. Furthermore, excluding the trade bloc would erode the Philippines' export competitiveness, he added.
 
"RCEP is really for the future of our economy. We have to sustain our growth momentum and show to the international community that the Philippines is indeed an emerging economy open to trade and investment," Lopez said.
 
The Philippines failed to ratify the RCEP agreement in December last year before the free trade deal took effect on January 1.
 
In September 2021, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ratified the RCEP and brought it to the senate for concurrence.
 
RCEP is made up of 10 ASEAN members, as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, covering about 30 percent of the world's population and its gross domestic product. 
 
(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)

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