Senate RCEP ratification to bolster 18th Congress record — JFC

Published May 23, 2022, 2:18 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Should the Philippine Senate ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, it will build on the remarkable record of the 18th Congress of approving new laws of immense benefit to the national economy, according to the Joint Chamber of Commerce (JFC).

JFC, which is composed of seven foreign business chambers in the country, pointed this out as the group urged anew the 18th Congress to concur the Malacanang ratification of RCEP last year.

Foreign businessmen cited the other laws the 18th Congress had passed, including TRAIN 1, CREATE, E-vehicles, and amendments to the Public Services, Retail Trade Liberalization, and Foreign Investments Acts.

In addition to its large workforce and advantageous geographical location, another important reason many of our members have invested in the Philippines is the expanding access they can enjoy under trade agreements which the Philippines has with its ASEAN and regional neighbors and other countries.

“We have encouraged the Philippines to apply to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and today we are asking the Philippine Senate to ratify the RCEP so that the large network of foreign markets already accessible to exports from the Philippines will be further expanded,” the group said in a statement.

JFC believes that once Senate concurs the executive ratification of RCEP, “ a large number of our current investors will invest more, and new investors from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America, and Northeast Asia, will be attracted, creating many thousands of new jobs.”

The foreign business community also said that RCEP also offers other new advantages for exporters located in the Philippines that will benefit our member companies. RCEP is the largest trade bloc in the world, representing 30 percent of global GDP.

“The Philippines cannot afford to leave itself out of the bloc since being a member will bring economic benefits that will hasten recovery from the scars, higher debt, and other damage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show the Philippine economy will grow at a slower pace without membership in RCEP. Nobody wants this to happen,” JFC added.

RCEP is already in force in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Honorable members of the Senate, we appeal to you to vote to approve the RCEP agreement when you return to session this week.

The Senate, however, failed to concur the executive ratification of the trade treaty on strong opposition from various sectors, particularly the agricultural sector, claiming the FTA deal will only open up the floodgates of importation as there is no support for the local farmers to improve their productivity.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and PAMURI. We represent over 3,000 member companies engaged in around $100 billion worth of trade and some $30 billion worth of investments in the Philippines. The JFC supports and promotes open international trade, increased foreign investment, and improved conditions for business to benefit both the Philippines and the countries the JFC members represent.

Approved by the following: American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters,