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To support PH economic growth, RCEP and PSA

The government ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and released new Public Service Act (PSA) implementing rules and regulations, thus the Makati Business Club (MBC) is confident about economic growth in the upcoming quarters.

It released a statement on Thursday after the nation reported a 6.4-percent increase in its gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2023. “Two recent developments may aid economic growth in the near future,” it stated.

The industry group referenced the Public Service Act changes’ IRR release, which liberalizes important industries including transportation and telecommunications.

“The Philippines also recently ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in February 2023, which is currently the world’s largest free trade agreement,” it continued.

The RCEP will go into effect throughout the nation on June 2, while the IRR of the PSA went into effect on April 4 of last year.

With the implementation of the new PSA regulations, the nation now permits complete foreign ownership of public services like telecoms, trains, expressways, and airports.

In contrast, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will facilitate trade between the 15 participating nations—the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and trading partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand—and will reduce or eliminate tariffs on some commodities.

The GDP for the first quarter was only 6.4%, down from the previous quarter’s 7.1% and the lowest level since the second quarter of 2021, when the recovery began.

The Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund also expected approximately 6% in recent forecasts, but the MBC noted that “this exceeds the forecasts of local economists whose estimates are within the median of 6% and slightly exceeds these projections.”

In the first three months of the year, the nation’s GDP remained within the 6 to 7 percent range set by the government.

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