‘After joining RCEP, Philippines now open for business’

Photo from: RCEP website

By Philstar

The Philippines is now open for business and on an accelerated post-pandemic economic recovery following the Senate’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade grouping, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said yesterday.

Pascual issued the statement at the signing ceremony of the resolution concurring with the ratification of RCEP by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri that was approved by the chamber late Tuesday and will be sent to Malacañang.

He said the country’s entry into RCEP would make full use of the landmark economic legislation like the Public Services Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives of Enterprises Act.

“If we did not join RCEP, it is reversal of what we wanted the world to see that we are open for business, a counter signal if we were not able to get the RCEP ratification,” Pascual said.

He said the RCEP, which allows exporters, businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access to much larger markets, would accelerate the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The way to recover is to stimulate investments, strengthen our MSMEs and let our suppliers supply to bigger businesses,” Pascual said.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their FTA partners Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and Korea, with a combined population of 2.3 billion or 30 percent of the world’s population with a total Gross Domestic Product of around $38,813 billion or 30 percent of the global GDP.

The Philippines was the last to join RCEP.

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