DTI to ensure protection of local producers as RCEP takes effect: stakeholder


Posted at Jun 02 2023 10:19 AM

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MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry as well as lawmakers have put in place safeguards to ensure that the country's membership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will not be detrimental to local producers, a stakeholder said Friday when the agreement starts taking effect in the Philippines.

RCEP, or the free trade agreement among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, eliminates up to 90 percent of tariffs, or the taxes imposed on imports among its member countries, within 20 years.

Philippine Exporters Confederation President Sergio Ortiz-Luis said the country would be "losing out" if it did not join the RCEP, noting it only has two trade agreements while its peers have more, such as Thailand which has 13.

"There are protections that are given there. DTI will be watching that. There is also a monitoring team set up by Senate to monitor flooding. It should not be detrimental to producers," he told ANC.

He said small businesses won't be "losers" due to lowered tariffs on imports because they could also export and become more competitive.

Lawmakers in February approved the country's entry to the RCEP, the last signatory in the trade pact.