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Thursday, April 18, 2024

PBBM renews push for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ratification

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would help boost the competitiveness of the country’s agriculture sector, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said.

In an interview with the media on Sunday on board PR001 on his return trip from Japan, Marcos stressed RCEP will grant the country access to non-traditional suppliers of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, which will be beneficial for local farmers.

“Without RCEP, we cannot do that,” Marcos said.

“So we are going to continue to increase our investment in the agricultural value chain. That will make us more competitive,” he added.

The President made the assurance amid concerns RCEP could flood the country with imported agricultural products, which could be detrimental to local farmers and hamper the government’s goal of achieving food supply sufficiency.

“All our markets that are mentioned in RCEP are already open. There will be no [new market] which will be opened [by RCEP],” Marcos said.

Wasted opportunity

RCEP is a free-trade agreement (FTA) signed by Asean together with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

It is expected to cut tariffs on some goods to create common standards for e-commerce, trade, and intellectual property, among others.

Currently, only the Philippines has yet to ratify RCEP, which is required before both countries could implement its provision.

Despite the pending ratification by the Senate of RCEP, the President has already promoted the country’s inclusion in the said FTA during his official visit in Japan last week.

“The reason that I talked about RCEP is because I am quite confident that it will soon be passed [by the Senate],” Marcos said.

He noted the country cannot waste the opportunity of joining the RCEP since it could further help boost the country’s trade.

“I think time will prove—yeah, time will prove that it is a—it is to our advantage. Since what we are after is more trade,” Marcos said.

LEDAC meeting

The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) committed to push for the ratification of the RCEP during its meeting on Monday at Malacañang.    
     Two LEDAC participants, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Loren Legarda, assured they will “jointly defend the ratification of RCEP on the Senate floor.”

Aside from the RCEP, the LEDAC also committed to pass 10 other priority legislation by June 2 this year.

These include the bills for the Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law/Public-Private Partnership bill, Medical Reserve Corps, Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control, creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines, and Mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps and National Service Training Program.

Also included in the list are the legislation for the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law, Maharlika bill, Attrition law,/AFP Fixed Term and the Salt Industry Development Bill.

Image credits: Niphon Subsri | Dreamstime.com

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