Tolentino: Leave RCEP to incoming Marcos administration

Senator Francis Tolentino on Friday, May 27 favors giving the incoming Marcos administration the opportunity to review the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement which is now at the Senate for ratification or not.

According to Tolentino, President-elect Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ R. Marcos stated that the RCEP requires a thorough study.because it has an effect on the agriculture sector.

President Duterte had signed the RCEP and endorsed it to the 24-member Senate for ratification.

Senator Aquilino ‘’Koko’’ Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said he is ready ‘’to defend the treaty because my committee endorsed it to the plenary.’’

‘’We are trying our best to prepare for it,’’ he added.

The RCEP was scheduled to be taken up Monday.

The Senate, under the 18th Congress, is slated to adjourn sine die on June 3.

`Stakeholders during the committee hearing stated that the tariff liberalization that come with the RCEP Agreement would cripple the country’s ability to address the Covid-19 pandemic due to lower tariff revenues, and force local industries out of business with cheaper imported goods.

In contrast, many economists and international organizations have defended the value of the RCEP to the Philippines and to the region.

The RCEP agreement came into force last January 1 for six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states - Brunei Darrusalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and five Asean trading partners namely Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

Encompassing 15 nations and 2.2 billion people, the trade partnership offers broad economic and societal benefits that go beyond imports and exports.

RCEP economies account for 29 percent of global gross domestic product. One study noted that real income increase for the world from the trade pact will amount to $186 billion by 2030.