MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Monday Philippine industries can take advantage of improved and broadened market access from the recently-signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has been dubbed as the biggest free trade deal in the world.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Asia-wide free trade agreement (FTA) is advantageous to local industries such as automotive parts, garments, electronics, IT-BPO and e-commerce, among others.
The FTA is seen to lower tariffs of imported goods, and broaden the sourcing of raw materials and export of products to the regional market.
Leaders of the 16 member countries of the trade bloc signed the RCEP on Sunday.
"We already have individual ASEAN FTAs like ASEAN-China, ASEAN-Japan, and ASEAN-Korea. What RCEP does is it incrementally increases the level of trade ties or the level of market access between ASEAN and its partners. It is a more modern, more comprehensive kind of FTA, and it is the biggest in the world right now," Lopez said in an interview with ANC.
The countries that comprise the RCEP trade deal include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Lopez said RCEP will improve market access to the members of the trade bloc, as well as cover more areas -- not just goods and services, but also trade in investments, intellectual property, protection of micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and many others.
Meanwhile, Lopez said the DTI has allocated support funds to aid MSMEs affected by typhoon Ulysses.
The funds include around P100 million loan allocation for small businesses and P10 million for livelihood grants to micro-businesses.
"We have prepared a fund to be able to help the MSMEs that were affected," Lopez said.
The DTI said it is also constantly monitoring the prices in the typhoon-affected areas.