RCEP safeguard: New import monitoring system in place
MANILA -The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has established an import monitoring system to safeguard the inflow of goods with the country’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
“We have established an import monitoring system to detect any unwarranted surge in import so that necessary trade remedies or policy interventions can be made immediately,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said in a press conference on Friday, adding that this tool was available to stakeholders that keep a close eye on import trends.
“By ensuring imports remain within amounts that will not hurt or threaten our local industry, this monitoring initiative builds confidence and fosters collaboration among all those involved,” he added.
The monitoring system, which has gone live on May 31, is administered by DTI’s Bureau of Import Services.
The measure is meant to allay fears of sudden surge in imports from 14 other countries that are part of the regional trade agreement.
RCEP is a free trade pact between all Association of Southeast Asian Nations members, as well as five of the regional bloc’s trade partners—Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Touted as the world’s largest free trade agreement, the government sees RCEP boosting the local exports sector due to the reduction or removal of import tariffs in countries that had signed up for the mega trade deal.
The government also sees the trade pact helping lower the prices of goods imported into the country and improving the availability of raw materials used by local manufacturers.
Meanwhile, Trade Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty said the Philippines, through the Tariff Commission, could impose safeguard duties on specific goods should they see a spike that threatens particular local industries.
“It can be done. We just have to comply with the elements,” he said.
Gepty said local industries could petition the commission for an investigation on whether safeguard measures were needed. He added that the DTI could also conduct a motu proprio review or self-initiated probe.
—Alden M. Monzon