Philippines and Canada are working on the establishment of a Joint Economic Committee (JEC), the first bilateral commercial consultation mechanism between the two governments.
Guy Boileau, Canadian Counsellor and Senior Trade Commission in Manila, said at the virtual Update on Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, that the establishment of the JEC is a key area of focus to be launched in 2022.
Boileau revealed they are currently in discussions with Filipino authorities to establish what effectively will be the first bilateral commercial consultation mechanism between Canada and the Philippines. The JEC will be the platform necessary to talk about a range of commercial issues, opportunities, and areas of enhanced collaboration.
The JEC will also be the venue for both parties “to work a little bit more closely to overcome some of some trade irritants.”
Boileau added that the business community will also be a key partner in the JEC.
The second focus area this year is the planned launch of the Canada ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, which Boileau described as “really a milestone in our overall relationship with ASEAN and notably the Philippines.”
Already, Boileau said there has been a range of economic benefits, specifically for the Philippines, the Canada ASEAN free trade agreement would offer. These are in terms of enhanced market access and opportunities for Filipino companies, he said.
This would mean contribution to the Filipino GDP exports in primary sectors, more exports and manufactured goods. “Really lots of opportunities for the Philippines,” he said once the comprehensive Canada-ASEAN FTA is concluded.
With that he urged the business community in the Philippines and the entire ASEAN region to participate in these negotiations by providing advice and views throughout the negotiation to government officials and to negotiators.
“These agreements are for the creation of better bonds and more employment,” he said.
Canadian government’s international economic priorities include the strengthening and security of critical supply chain and to advance Canada’s diversification strategy and its global leadership on critical minerals.
Canada would also pursue its fight against protectionism, unfair trade practices, and economic coercion.
It will also lead in the continued implementation of new FTAs to ensure they benefit consumers and businesses.
Canada also prioritizes promotion of open and rules-based trade regimes, particularly the World Trade Organization.
It will also advance inclusive trade agenda by supporting underrepresented groups (women, indigenous peoples, black and racialized Canadians, immigrants, LGBTQ2).
Canada would also push for the full Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership ratification and accessions; Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Indonesia; and possible FTAs with ASEAN.