MANILA — Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group Atty. Allan B. Gepty said that the Philippines’ historic participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will help in the quick recovery of our economy from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be beneficial to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and various sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture.
“The signing of the RCEP Agreement is a welcome development because it is a strong demonstration of the region’s commitment in ensuring a stable and predictable regional economic architecture amidst uncertainties and the growing trend in protectionism worldwide,” said DTI Asec. Gepty during “The Virtual Presser” (TVP) on Friday, November 27, 2020, with host Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary JV Arcena.
“It is in effect an affirmation to a rules-based system for international trade. It is also viewed as a confidence building milestone in this time of pandemic, especially as we work towards recovery from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
According to Asec. Gepty, the RCEP is considered as the largest free trade deal as it covers almost 30% of the population, 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 28% of the global trade. It is also a modern, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial free trade agreement (FTA), which will provide a timely boost for the economic development of the Philippines, especially now that the country is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With an open, fair, and rules-based trading system, RCEP will help restore business confidence and encourage more economic activities, particularly for MSMEs, investors, service providers, and professionals,” Asec. Gepty said.
“For the Philippines, the RCEP will complement ongoing trade and investment reforms and initiatives for the resurgence of the country’s manufacturing sector, enhancement of our investment regime, strengthening of agriculture sector, and integration of its MSMEs into the Global Value Chain through market access provided in goods and services,” he added.
Asec. Gepty also summarized the Philippines’ benefits for participating in the RCEP. First, the manufacturers in the country can get cheaper imported goods, raw materials, and other products from other member countries of the RCEP. Second, it will be convenient to do business as the RCEP simplified the rules for businesses and investors, and there will be a clear mechanism on transparency and consultation related to issues in trade and trading partners. Third, in the RCEP region, participating countries will have uniform rules for protecting the intellectual property rights. Lastly, the RCEP will complement the ongoing reforms and existing programs and initiatives of the government, especially on the resurgence of the manufacturing sector in the country.
Furthermore, Asec. Gepty also lauded the participation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 20, 2020. He said that this will strengthen our relationship with other countries to help us acquire the much needed COVID-19 vaccines, as well as boost the Philippines’ support for a free and rules-based multilateral trading system.
In 2019, the Philippines’ exports to APEC economies amounted to US$59.88 billion, which is 84.4% of the country’s total exports. In the same year, the country’s imports amounted to US$93.88 billion, which is 84.1% of the total imports. In terms of investments, the Philippines received 90.7% of approved investments from the 21 member economies of APEC.
“On this note, the Philippines will continue to be active in all economic fora and will continuously work to provide opportunities for our people, and create and maintain a conducive economic environment in the country,” said Asec. Gepty.
“The Virtual Presser,” launched by the Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs (OGMPA) in April 2019, is PCOO’s interactive online video platform to engage with the international and local media, including foreign audiences.
OGMPA is tasked to connect government policymakers with the media and promote the Philippine government’s priority policy messages through engagements with foreign and domestic audiences.