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Purisima pushes PH membership in TPP

/ 02:08 AM February 06, 2016

The Philippines’ finance chief continues to push for the inclusion of the country as well as the entire Asean region in the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement to boost not only the domestic but the regional economies as well.

“I remain strongly in favor of Philippine membership to the TPP. The Department of Finance reiterates our strong position that the Philippines stands to gain from becoming a member of the trade pact and that Asean’s admission into the TPP as a region will be a boon to TPP countries,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said in a statement Thursday night.

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After more than five years of negotiations, 12 countries—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US and Vietnam—signed the ambitious trade pact last Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Philippines, while wanting to join the trade deal, could not participate in discussions due to the restrictions on foreign investments enshrined in the Constitution.

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But in case the Philippines could finally join, “TPP membership bodes well for economic performance,” Purisima said.

“An April 2014 Philippine Institute for Development Studies paper projected that the value of Philippine exports will rise if it participates in the TPP. According to the study, the increase in ex ports ranges from 0.44 percent to be realized from year 2 to 11 of joining,” Purisima noted.

“The Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics came out with a study in 2012 projecting that the Philippines to be the fourth-largest beneficiary in terms of the percentage increase in gross domestic product (estimated $22.1-billion gain in 2025) under a TPP16 scenario. This is a future that I very much look forward to,” the finance chief added. The TPP16 scenario includes the 12 member-countries plus the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.

A number of TPP member-countries had said the Philippines might join discussions soon after they seal the deal. “The Philippines can enjoy a window of opportunity to observe an incubating period as implementation sets in. It is useful to be vigilantly critical as the dust settles around the current members of the pact, in order to better prepare ourselves for entry in the hopefully near future,” Purisima said.

“The TPP has the potential to be one of the most reliable drivers of growth when the global environment turns sluggish. The potential to join the trade grouping is a golden opportunity we must work hard not to pass up,” according to Purisima. Ben O. de Vera

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TAGS: ASEAN, Business, Cesar V. Purisima, Philippines, Trans-Pacific Partnership
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