The Senate concurred voting 20-1-1 on the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by far among Asia-Pacific nations, on 21 February 2023. The RCEP is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that aims to establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership framework to liberalize and facilitate trade in goods and services. It will also create a liberal, facilitative, and competitive regional investment. Economists supported this, particularly the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who is optimistic that this FTA will fuel the Philippines’ economic growth.
Considering that the market is open, it will allow new opportunities, especially for exporters and importers, as RCEP is advantageous in the following matters: Zero or lower import tariff applied to Philippine exports in the biggest free trade area; Wider sourcing of raw materials by Philippine manufacturers; Enhanced trade facilitation provisions; Time-bound consultations to resolve issues on non-tariff measures; Improvement in financial services; Stronger protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights; Economic and technical cooperation to strengthen competitiveness;
Support for MSME development and participation of Philippine enterprises in the global value chain; Boost regulatory cooperation on telecommunications and ICT services and many more.
This will strengthen the economic trade between the ten member states, including the Philippines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its five FTA partners, creating the largest regional trade bloc in the world.
RCEP as an instrument will also be used to recognize and address the bottlenecks to improve the Philippines sector and the overall export development, a bold and more decisive commitment and set of actions as promised by the Marcos Administration. AOB