As President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is expected to sign deals with Indonesia and Singaporean leaders during his very first state visits, the Employer’s Confederation of the Philippines believes that Marcos should do more, as the country lags behind its neighbors in terms of economic and trade agreements.
“We are far from other countries in terms of trade deals. The Philippines has only two, the ASEAN and Japan. Other countries now have five, or six trade and economic agreements with counterparts, particularly in Europe and other regions. We are very left behind,” ECOP president Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr. said during the Laging Handa Public Briefing on Monday.
Ortiz-Luis Jr was referring to the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement or PJEPA, a free trade agreement covering, trade in goods, trade in services, investments, movement of natural persons, intellectual property, customs procedures, improvement of the business environment, and government procurement.
Trade deal abounds
Another deal is the Philippines–European Free Trade Association Agreement, with deals covering goods, trade in services, investment, competition, intellectual property, government procurement, and trade and sustainable development, to European nations namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The country could have been enjoying greater trade access through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, but the Philippine Senate has not yet ratified it, providing trade agreement with 14 Asia Pacific countries namely Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
However, Ortiz-Luis Jr. said he was hoping that Marcos Jr. could have, at least, consulted the private sector before signing agreements to other nations in the future.
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