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Encouraged to fully utilize RCEP benefits are PH enterprises

After waiting for two years, the nation has finally ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Alfredo Pascual, has urged Philippine-based companies to benefit from the new trade agreement.

In a virtual conference on Wednesday, Pascual explained to trade reporters that the effects of RCEP rely on how immediate businesses will respond to its ratification.

The Philippines will lodge its instrument of ratification with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat after the Senate’s approval of the RCEP on Tuesday night.

The RCEP will come into effect 60 days after the instrument of ratification has been received and deposited.

“We want to make sure that our business community and the general public understand that the RCEP only creates an enabling environment. The degree to which we can profit from the new favorable environment will depend on how we act in it. Something cannot be regulated or mandated by the government. Nonetheless, we make certain that the ecosystem is present, according to Pascual.

The DTI chairman stated that Philippine-based companies have been prepared for the heightened competition and have been considering how to benefit from the new free trade pact as they anticipate the country’s participation in RCEP.

Pascual continued, “More than that, I believe investors who have been considering the Philippines as a production center will now put their intentions and plans into action to establish manufacturing hubs in the Philippines and make their investments in our nation.

The RCEP’s approval, according to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, improves the Philippines’ position as an ASEAN investment hub.

As we extend market access, streamline trade, and match our laws and procedures with participating economies, the Philippines has further enhanced its position as an excellent investment hub in the region as a result of its participation in RCEP, he said.

According to Balisacan, this is consistent with the general goals of the Marcos administration’s medium-term strategy, which calls for the creation of higher-quality, more durable jobs in order to reduce poverty by luring investments and encouraging business growth.

He continued, “With the resounding support of Congress, yesterday’s concurrence to the RCEP Agreement is a testament to the government’s commitment to creating an environment conducive to trade and investments that act as catalysts for job creation, skills development, and technology transfer as we seek to transform the Philippine economy in the next six years.

Private sector assistance

The Senate members were thanked for their support of the RCEP ratification by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Makati Business Club (MBC), and the Confederation of Wearable Exporters of the Philippines (Conwep).

“It’s a positive development for the economic and trade prospects of our nation. In order to prevent harm to local producers, certain products are subject to conditions, PCCI president George Barcelon told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a text message.

Francisco Alcuaz Jr., executive director of MBC, said the business community is optimistic that RCEP would hasten the creation of jobs, hasten the economic recovery, and will support inclusive growth.

The Senate’s vote to support the Philippines’ participation in RCEP, according to Alcuaz, is a “clear indication” that the country is open for business and jobs.

He continued, “We congratulate the Senate, President (Ferdinand) Marcos, DTI Sec. Pascual, former DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, and the rest of the Economic cluster for taking another step to open foreign markets for Philippine businesses while improving the quality and accessibility of homegrown goods and services.

Conwep, on the other hand, emphasized the significance of the RCEP market for Philippine producers.

“The RCEP member nations account for 19% of our overall exports of wearables to the world. Other RCEP member nations may weaken the deal if the Philippines chooses not to ratify it and join this important regional economy, Conwep said in a statement.

According to Conwep data, Filipino shipments of wearables to RCEP participants climbed by 8% in 2022 over the previous year.

According to 2022 performance, Japan holds a 54 percent share of all exports to RCEP member states, making it the largest market for wearables from the Philippines. With an export value of USD90 million in 2022, China is the second-largest RCEP exporting nation, followed by Australia, which is the third-largest RCEP export market.

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