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MEASURE SEEN BRINGING IN MORE FOREIGN INVESTORS

Foreign chambers urge Senate to ratify RCEP

/ 04:25 AM May 24, 2022

Foreign business groups have urged the Senate to let the Philippines join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trade bloc, as doing so will help bring in more investments from abroad.

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines also said ratifying the RCEP would add to the list of key economic laws passed by the current Congress. These include the amendments to the public services act and the retail trade liberalization law that are all aimed at attracting job-generating foreign investments.

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“… [T]oday we are asking the Philippine Senate to ratify the RCEP so that the large network of foreign markets already accessible to exports from the Philippines will be further expanded,” they said in a statement on Monday.

“When this happens a large number of our current investors will invest more, and new investors from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America and Northeast Asia, will be attracted, creating many thousands of new jobs. RCEP also offers other new advantages for exporters located in the Philippines that will benefit our member companies,” they said.

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The JFC is a coalition of American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean business chambers as well as regional operating headquarters. They have over 3,000 member companies, engaged in around $100 billion worth of trade and some $30 billion worth of investments in the Philippines.

The Philippines signed the RCEP in November 2020 with the rest of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations and Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan and China. It used to include India, until the latter opted out of the negotiations. “RCEP is already in force in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Honorable members of the Senate, we appeal to you to vote to approve the RCEP agreement when you return to session this week,” the JFC said.

Together, the RCEP countries account for around 30 percent of the global economy. The deal, which is already in effect, needed to secure the Senate’s approval before the Philippines could participate in it.

However, senators have not yet ratified it, after agricultural groups feared how this might hurt their livelihood since they were not consulted in the last series of negotiations. The RCEP, which began talks in 2012, took nearly a decade to finish. It remains to be seen how the Senate would decide on the issue before the current Congress ends. INQ

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TAGS: Business, RCEP, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
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