American chamber of commerce urges Senate to approve RCEP
The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) has urged the Senate to approve the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for companies here to immediately enjoy its promised benefits. “We would like to emphasize the need for the Senate concurrence of RCEP as soon as possible in order for Philippine and American businesses based in the country to fully utilize the agreement and maximize its benefits,” said AmCham executive director Ebb Hinchliffe.
The Philippines signed the RCEP in November 2020 with the rest of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) along with Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and China but has not yet been approved by the Senate.
“We already know that we are behind as the agreement was already implemented on 1 January 2022. We hope to see the country implement the agreement by early 2022,” he added.
The Senate has not yet approved the RCEP, which covers around 30 percent of the global economy, due in part to reservations raised by agricultural groups about the deal’s possible adverse consequences.
Business groups, however, are pushing for its approval by the Senate as required under the Constitution.
“We see RCEP as a platform for our members to source cheaper local goods for production and manufacturing, as well as benefit the country’s vital sectors such as the creative sectors, financial services, research and development, IT-BPM, professional services and energy, given the transparent, stable and predictable rules that the agreement provides,” Hinchliffe added.
Philippine exports to countries under the China-led mega trade deal are estimated by the UN Conference on Trade and Development to fall by $100 million since it will lose out to other member countries with better trade concessions. However, the benefits of joining the RCEP are still expected to outweigh the harms.
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